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FAQ's about Meth

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What is Meth / Ice/ Methamphetamine?  

 Methamphetamine has a number of different names. Meth, Ice, P, Speed and many more and is an extremely addictive drug which targets the central nervous system. Meth is mainly smoked but it can also be dissolved in liquid and injected or snorted. Addiction to Meth can occur after a single use.  Methamphetamine is pretty simple to make and can be manufactured from everyday household items.

Meth user or meth lab? What's the difference?

Houses that have been used as a meth lab, will have higher contamination levels than in a property that has just been used by people who smoke the drug. Large scale usage will result in higher contamination levels.

Can living in a Methamphetamine contaminated house cause health issues?

Associated health issues arising from living in a contaminated property, include headaches, respiratory issues, dizziness, skin problems/rashes and nausea. Often it is these unexplained issues that lead people to suspect their property may be contaminated. Links between meth contamination and other more serious health problems are still being researched, but studies suggest it can be linked, as Meth labs give off toxic chemicals during the manufacturing process and these can lead to serious health issues.

Is it possible to tell if a property is contaminated with meth?

It is difficult to tell if you are living in a Methamphetamine contaminated property. Some signs can include chemical / solvent or cat urine smell (Ammonia), or any chemical wrappings, or drums such as Drano, antifreeze etc left around the place. 

Everything about Meth is dangerous. Some of the chemicals used are:
  • Acetone (Nail polish remover and is highly flammable)
  • Hydrochloric Acid (used to make plastic)
  • Lithium (Found in batteries. Burns the skin, reacts violently with water and is highly explosive)
  • Pseudoephedrine / Ephedrine  (A common ingredient in some cold medicines)
  • Anhydrous Ammonia (This found in fertiliser and when mixed with other chemicals creates a toxic gas!)
  • Sulfuric Acid (Found in drain / toilet cleaners)
  • Toluene: This substance is found in brake fluids. (Toluene is so corrosive it can actually dissolve rubber!)
  • Red phosphorus This is located on matchboxes and in other explosives. (phosphorus is highly flammable)
These ingredients are harmful to people on their own! Let alone when mixed together!

The only sure way to establish if there is meth residue in a property, is to get the property tested. This Initial testing is not expensive and gives an instant indication if Meth is present.

People and Business should consider getting a meth residue Ice drug test / screen 
  • Property Tenants:  Prior to agreeing to rent or lease a property, ask the Property agent or landlord to carry out a meth residual test, before you commit to rent.
  • This ensures the property is safe and could also guard you from any issues later on.                                                     
    • Prospective Home buyers: A condition of the Contract of sale could include a ‘Meth screening test’ clearance, much like a white ant certificate. Getting a meth residue drug test before you agree to buy gives you important information as cleaning a highly contaminated property can run into thousands of dollars. You can go ahead with the sale with confidence, if the result is negative, or, with a positive result, either back out or negotiate with the vendor.
      • Current home owners: Are you having unexplained health issues? Especially when you indoors? Then having a meth screen on the property could reveal the source of these problems.
      • Property owners / Landlords: You are strongly recommended to get a ’Meth screening clearance’ before either purchasing a rental property or leasing one out. Especially in between tenancies. Only a meth screening test can reveal what previous tenants may have been up to!
      • Real Estate Agencies: Offering meth screening as part of your services, can help both vendors and buyers. If a property is heavily infected, this can run into tens of thousands of dollars to remediate! This also raises the question of who is liable for the cleaning costs.
      Is meth screening easy?
      Initial testing is carried out (Indicative test with a simple ‘yes/no’ answer) with swabs taken in different areas of the property. This indicates whether meth contamination is present or not. If the result is a positive one, then further testing can be carried out to show meth residue levels in various areas of the house.        

      If remedial/decontamination work is required and undertaken, best practice is to get the meth testing company to run new tests once works are completed to ensure the property levels are now safe.

      Decontaminating (remediating) a house? What's involved?
      This totally depends on whether meth was simply smoked by the occupants, or whether the property was used as a lab to manufacture Meth. It is also dependant on how long the property was used as a lab and the levels of Meth detected.

      What might have to be removed or cleaned on the decontamination process?
      • Low levels; Usually things like curtains, carpets and furniture will need to be replaced. (Basically anything that is absorbent)
      • Severe contamination: If benchtops have been used for preparing meth chemicals, you may need to have countertops and other fixtures and fittings removed.
      • Very severe contamination: In very severe cases, the property may need to be stripped back further with possibly even gyprock walls and ceilings removed. Meth residue can stay forever!
      Everything removed will need to be disposed of properly.

      What should I check when choosing meth testing companies? 
      When you are choosing a company to carry out meth screening/testing, (First step in determining whether further testing is required) firstly ask what qualifications they have. (They should have completed the NIOSH 9111 Methamphetamine Residue Sampling Courses. (Methamphetamine on wipes by liquid chromatography – mass spectrometry)    

      Meth testing companies: Who can set up to test meth contaminated homes?

      Anyone can set up a meth testing business but you should only employ reputable meth testing companies whose staff has undergone training and certification. (Ask to see certificate)

      What happens after a property has been decontaminated?
      After decontamination, a further meth residue drug test should be arranged to ensure that levels are now within safe limits. The Australian Standard is 0.5µg/100cm2 of meth.
      Meth Xtract does not undertake meth decontamination, but we can organise qualified cleaning companies for you if needed.
For more information about our Meth/Ice screening services or to book an appointment with us, please call