Below are some frequently asked questions – if you have a question you don’t see below feel free to use the form on the contact page.
- Options for turnaround time are 5, 3 and 2 working days from the day the samples are taken.
- Regional or statutory holidays may result in a longer turnaround times. Please keep in mind, if property is currently tenanted then an additional 24-48 hours notice may be required.
- Once a test has been requested MethSolutions will arrange access with the contact person noted on your order. We will make every effort to ensure that we meet your preferred time requested.
- There is a special instructions field on the booking form should you need to notify us of any concerns about the property, including any known meth history.
- This Baseline test is not used to confirm the effectiveness of cleaning in a property. Do not book this test if you have undertaken any recent cleaning. Please contact our office to discuss
+ 15 years of use and manufacture have resulted in lots of homes being affected by meth. If you are living in one with serious contamination, it has profound implications for your health and wellbeing.
Of the properties we sample, +40% have signs of meth. Of these, more than half go on to have further work done on them.
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
Some people use lab based testing (the most sensitive and accurate approach) while others use infield testing kits. Infield kits get you an answer quicker, but it may not be the one you need!
Also, some service providers only sample a limited number of areas. Often limited to 3 or 4. We aim to sample up to 8 areas per kit. This means on a standard 3 bedroom home, one kit will sample almost every room.
A simple rule of thumb, is to sample as many areas as possible and to use lab based testing. This reduces the likelihood of significant levels of meth going undetected. Conversely, if limited numbers of areas are sampled and non-lab based testing is employed, the risk of missing significant levels of meth increases.
The MethSolutions Standard Screening Assessment or SSA is used to establish habitability of a property as per Standard NZS8510 i.e.: whether a contaminated property can be tenanted.
The standard NZS8510 was released in June 2017 and details acceptable post decontamination levels of methamphetamine residue in property.
The levels referenced in the standard apply to any property or buildings where people may be present including, but not limited to dwellings, sheds, garages, vehicles, boats, caravans, mobile homes, work places, hotels, motels and storage facilities.
As with all methods of sampling, the recommended approach when taking discrete area by area samples, is to sample all areas in a property. This reduces the likelihood of methamphetamine contamination remaining undetected in any one area.
Our Certified Sampler uses an SSA test kit which contains five individual methanol dampened cotton gauze squares to swab five individual areas.
The five individual swabs are composited in one tube for analysis at the lab as one sample to minimise analysis costs while still establishing habitability.
As each sample is taken following the NIOSH9111 method, the level in any one of the individual swabs is unlikely to exceed to total of the SSA composite i.e.: if results are or less than 1.5ug/100cm2 it is likely the levels of meth residue in the property comply with the Standard NZS8510.
The lower the level of methamphetamine is in each sample, the more likely it is, the property complies with NZS8510.
A one bedroom or small two-bedroom property can be sampled with one SSA kit (5 swabs) however larger properties will require multiple SSA kits.
If the result of any of the SSA samples, exceeds 1.5 micrograms, further sampling would be required in those areas in the form of discrete area by area sampling with individual lab analysis to facilitate professional decontamination.
This depends on what levels of meth are found in a property and who the other party is.
Currently, we understand there is:
- no requirement (subject to that which may be imposed by the terms and conditions of some insurance policies) to tell the Police/Council
- a requirement to tell tenants IF levels exceed or are thought likely to exceed currently acceptable Ministry of Health Guidelines
- a requirement to tell prospective purchasers of any level of any level of meth present
Cost of sorting out meth problems can vary wildly. Where a low level of contamination may be no risk to health and not need anything doing, as a worst case scenario, properties can need to be destroyed.
Costs for detailed testing often range from $3,000 to 10,000
Decontamination $2,000 to $50,000
Then there is cost of reinstatement.
Sorting things out can take months. If it is an existing rental, this can lead to significant problems with loss of rent. Most people should expect to spend between $10,000-$50,000 plus the cost of reinstatement.
Typically this only happens when Police get involved and they have enough evidence to strongly indicate, or actual confirmation that meth manufacture has occurred. A history of Police involvement, but no reference on the LIM to meth manufacture, DOES NOT mean a property is free of meth issues.
Occasionally, people who get meth reports that show meth present, but who feel that an owner/agent/property manager is not being open with their disclosure, have been known to send copies of meth test reports to local councils/territorial authorities.
Auckland Council has received legal advice indicating that once a meth history is on the LIM it should stay on the LIM. So, if the authorities identify the problem, the property is likely to be stuck with the permanent stigma of a LIM notification.