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Methamphetamine – Do You Need to Test?

In New Zealand methamphetamine is commonly known as ‘P’, ‘meth’, and ‘ice’. It is a strong and highly addictive class A drug. 

Methamphetamine is either brought into New Zealand illegally or manufactured locally in makeshift clandestine laboratories or meth labs. Often meth labs can be found in residential homes, commercial properties and have even been found within vehicles and holiday accommodation.  

A dwelling can become contaminated with methamphetamine residue if the drug is manufactured or smoked within the property. Smoking usually results in much lower residue levels compared with manufacture. 

There are two types of tests available:

  1. A screening test is used to ascertain if there has been any methamphetamine contamination. This type of test is usually only used when there is no use or manufacture known or suspected.
  2. Detailed testing is performed when a property when use or manufacture is proven or suspected. Perhaps a clandestine lab has been located or there may be other general signs of drug use at the property. 

If you are wondering if you need to have your next home or rental investment tested before purchasing, here are some questions to ask yourself:

  1. Would you live in a meth contaminated home? 
  2. Would you buy a meth contaminated home at full price?  

If your answer to either of the above questions is no, then you should consider having a meth screening test completed before you make your next purchase.  

With a new “safe” level of methamphetamine reported by the governments chief scientist the risks associated with methamphetamine contaminated homes have perhaps decreased. 

Based on the report Housing New Zealand have changed the levels they deem safe for habitation from 1.5 ug/100cm2 to 15ug/100cm2. The Real Estate Agents Authority has advised real estate agents that their clients need not declare any contamination below 15 ug/100cm2. 

However the tenancy tribunal appears to be holding strong with recent rulings still using the 1.5 microgram level indicated by ESR and the Ministry of Health. They recommend post de contamination levels of 1.5 μg/100cm2 or less to minimise any risks to occupants including young children.

Property Managers also are still completing entry/exit testing. Many are taking the stance that methamphetamine is an illegal drug and tenants should not be using nor manufacturing illegal drugs in rental properties – full stop. 

We just don’t truly know what level is safe, except 0 of course. Lead (tetraethyl) in petrol (leaded petrol) was for years considered safe until it was proven not to be. Lead paint is no longer used.... by now you might be asking yourself – is it safe not to test? 

Sarah Turner, Franchise Owner & Manager, A Buyer’s Choice Home Inspections Waitakere

Sarah Turner, Franchise Owner & Manager, A Buyer’s Choice Home Inspections Waitakere



 

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