Property contamination through the cooking or smoking of meth is a growing issue in New Zealand and as a result meth testing has become more common before selling, purchasing or tenanting a property.
We have a reduced rate for meth testing if conducted at the same time as a pre-purchase building inspection. Rates
Laboratory Composite Test
At Smart Inspections, we provide the Laboratory Composite Test which is where individual wipe samples are taken according to the NIOSH 9111 technique and sent to a laboratory that is IANZ accredited for analysis. The lab extracts each sample as an individual in the first instance, but then combines equal portions of the extracts to form a new sample called a Lab Composite. Only the new lab composite sample is analysed on the instrument, and the result represents an average concentration.
The strengths of the Lab Composite technique are that it is NIOSH 9111 compliant, it is significantly cheaper than individual sample analysis and the result can be compared with the regulatory limit. The Lab analysis also includes testing for three precursor drugs; Ephedrine, Pseudoephedrine and Amphetamine. If a positive is found, a request can be made to the laboratory to analyse the individual samples if required without having to return to the dwelling to re-sample.
Field Composite Test
A Field Composite Test gives an immediate ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ result but is presumptive only. For this reason our company does not offer this test as an option due to the Lab Composite Test being more sensitive and thus more reliable.
Turnaround time for results is generally 2-3 working days.
Your report will be provided via email and will include the laboratory’s Analysis Report
What is methamphetamine?
Methamphetamine is a potent, highly addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system. Also known as meth, ice, ‘P’ and crystal, it takes the form of a white, odourless, bitter-tasting crystalline powder. It is a powerful and highly addictive drug.
What is methamphetamine contamination?
The manufacturing and smoking process for meth or “P” will leave some toxic residues on carpets, walls, ceilings, and contents of homes, buildings and property. Depending on what process is used it is estimated that for each kilogram of crystal meth manufactured this can create 7 kilograms of toxic chemical waste contaminating the property.
What are the symptoms of meth exposure?
Exposure to meth or associated chemicals can cause headaches, eye irritation, nausea, coughing, shortness of breath, dizziness, skin irritation, chest pain, fatigue and the feeling of coldness or weakness
What are the New Zealand Guidelines for meth testing in properties?
In late June 2017, the New Zealand Standard 8510 was released. Prior to the NZS8510:2017 being released the Ministry of Health had created Guidelines for the Remediation of Clandestine Methamphetamine Laboratory Sites. There is to be a transitional phase in relation to some requirements that will change and develop over the next 12 months but in the meantime, a few of the main points are:
- No less than 5 samples should be taken inside a building.
- Any room occupied by a child under the age of 16 years old should be sampled.
- The NIOSH 9111 sampling method is accepted practice.
- The acceptable level of methamphetamine to occupy a property is set at 1.5ug/100cm2
- Professionals undertaking testing must operate independently of commercial clean-up companies.
You can view the NZ Standard 8510:2017 here
How reliable are the tests?
Laboratory tests are the most reliable option which include samples taken from a number of areas in the house (ideally every room).
Smart Building Inspections is trained and certified to conduct meth testing. Individual swabs are collected from specific areas within the property and sent to an accredited lab for full analysis.
What is the acceptable level of meth contamination if it is detected in a property?
Remedial action is required if the level of meth contamination is greater than 1.5mg/100sqcm.
If meth is detected, how do I know if it was ‘used’ or ‘manufactured’ on the property?
The presence of precursor compounds does not conclusively prove manufacture. The reason is that the manufacturing process does not convert all of the precursor compound into the final product. In other words, a significant proportion of the product consumed is actually the precursor, which can vaporise along with the target and contaminate the surfaces of the dwelling in question.
Therefore the decision as to whether or not manufacture of methamphetamine has occurred requires corroborating evidence, such as evidence of chemical storage, or extremely high levels of both target and precursor compounds.
Where can I find out more?
More information can be obtained from the following links:
Technical Note: Hill Laboratories Methamphetamine Drug Testing Suite
NZ Drug Foundation: Methamphetamine
Ministry of Health: Guidelines for Remediation of Clandestine Meth Lab Sites
Exposure and Risk Associated with Clandestine Amphetamine-Type Stimulant Drug Laboratories – Jackie Wright: Thesis