The scientific opinion on the health effects of contamination of property from meth manufacture and use differ. The focus on MethAffected property is causing more research to be done. And this has to be a good thing.
While opinion differs around health effects related to use, what is widely accepted is that meth manufacture brings with it a wide range of adverse health effects. There are more contaminants involved and the short term and long-term health effects can be pronounced.
Short Term Health Effects
These can be wide ranging. They can be similar to seasonal effects associated with allergies or cold/flu. The key thing to note, is that they will persist far longer than you would normally expect. It is important to note, that some people will suffer none of these effects, while others will. Symptoms might include:
- Watery or burning eyes
- Burning skin
- Coughing or Choking
- Pain in diaphragm
- Feeling of coldness or weakness
- Shortness of breath / dizziness
- Decrease in cognitive function – feeling ‘mis-mothered’
- Sleep disorders
Long Term Health Effects
Studies into long term health effects associated with living in properties that have been used as meth labs are not widely available. However, the effects of the chemicals associated with manufacture are understood. So, living in a property where meth manufacture has occurred, is likely to increase the risk of the following:
- Nervous disorders/Tremors
- Damage to kidneys and liver
- Birth defects
- Reproductive problems
Health Effects Associated with Contamination from Use
Australian Government advice, is that methamphetamine itself is a problematic environmental contaminant. The advice from Government agencies in Australia, where the economic costs associated with identifying the effects of meth use and manufacture have not been identified, specifically references contamination from use beyond the limits in the Guidelines as being unacceptable.
Regrettably there are no long terms studies into the health effects associated with long term exposure to contamination from methamphetamine use.
There are the anecdotal experiences of individuals who report adverse health outcomes where meth is present in a property. These are aligned with some of the acute effects associated with entering a property where meth has been manufactured. These reported effects include:
There is also some research from overseas, both real world and lab based, that identifies risk to health and wellbeing where meth related behaviour is limited to use alone. This research urges caution when it comes to setting acceptable levels of meth in property where it is believed that meth related behaviour is limited to use alone.
Reported health effects from people who have found themselves:
- Persistent cough
- Shortness of breath/dizziness
- Decrease in cognitive function
- Behavioural issues
- Sleep disorders
- Skin issues