FAQ's & Advice
What is Methamphetamine?
Methamphetamine (“Meth”) is a Class A drug which is addictive, illegal and can pose a significant risk to both user and those who come into contact with the residue. It is also referred to as meth, P, crystal, chalk or ice. Meth is created or ‘cooked’ in makeshift labs that are often called meth, clandestine or P labs. Meth is a crystal that vaporizes when heated and is commonly ingested by smoking.
Methamphetamine contamination can occur both during cooking or smoking because of the vapor that is created. The vapor which is commonly seen as a haze or smoke rises and then settles on surfaces. Depending on the area of use, readings can vary throughout the house. Areas where there are porous surfaces such as timber window frames, soft furnishings and ledges collect the most vapor fallout.
Testing should be completed in compliance with the New Zealand Standard (NZS 8510:2017 Testing and Decontamination of Methamphetamine-Contaminated Properties). It is important to obtain a copy of the test results to review after comprehensive testing has been completed to determine methamphetamine contamination.
A house can test positive for methamphetamine but be below the national standard. If the results are low enough no work may be required. However, if the results are above a specified level (NZS 8510:2017) it is most likely the property needs to be decontaminated.
The types of testing results you are likely to receive from a testing company are Field Composite, Lab Composite or Comprehensive. Different costs and reasons for this depending on the level of contamination.
I am worried my house could be contaminated. What do I do next?
First the property should be tested by a certified professional to obtain a full laboratory report. Someone will visit the property and take test samples from different areas around the house. Once the results come back, you will have a greater understanding regarding the levels of contamination and to which parts of the house are affected. When the testing company has the full report available, forward to us and we will contact you to organise the best action plan.
My house tested positive for methamphetamine residue. What are my options to fix this?
We can discuss with you the best options available for your situation. From decontamination to full remediation, we want to provide the most cost-effective and viable option for your circumstances. In most cases, our decontamination process will prevent unnecessary costs and the need for demolition of affected areas.
Hill Laboratories and E.S.R. have tested and confirmed the product we use and our cleaning methodology comply with the NZ Standard for Testing and Decontamination of Methamphetamine-contaminated Properties (NZS8510:2017).
How much does it cost to decontaminate a property?
Every contaminated house poses different scenarios, variables and options available for reinstatement. Once we have been provided with a comprehensive lab report, and have viewed the property, we can provide a detailed quote.
By taking a scientific approach, we are able to safely decontaminate walls, ceilings, non-porous flooring, cabinets, light fixtures, heating systems and other items in a dwelling; saving you the client, thousands in replacement costs.
How long does it take to decontaminate a property?
Depending on the levels of contamination and obstacles faced, this can dictate how quickly the process can be completed. We endeavour to have you back in your property as soon as safely possible.
At EDS we like to allow for 7 to 10 working days including retesting to fully decontaminate a property. This allows for our team to come in and complete the necessary decontamination process thoroughly.
I am buying a house. Should I get it tested for Methamphetamine residue?
Buying a property is one of the biggest decisions we make in our lives. It is our greatest asset. Although it is not compulsory to test for methamphetamine, if there is any suspicion that there could be a contamination issue, it is better to have this tested for your own peace of mind.
To ensure you meet your insurance obligations, an initial small financial outlay of the cost of testing, can prevent bigger potential issues in the future.
Instant Meth Test Kits are available on our Product page and give a result in minutes. This instant test won't replace an official test but can help you decide your next steps. If the property is not yours you should seek permission before doing the test.
What are the signs of a meth lab?
Meth labs are often in highly populated residential areas so it is important to report any signs of a meth lab or other illegal drug activity. Neighbours living near a meth lab often notice unusual behavior of their neighbors and chemical like smells.
Some warning signs of a meth lab house include:
• Frequent visitors at all times of the day or night, for short durations
• Denied access to the area and/or paranoid behaviour
• Covering and blacking out of windows
• Chemical smells not normally found in residential areas. (e.g. paint thinner, vinegary smell)
• Large amounts of household chemicals
• Waste with a large number of cold (flu) packaging products
• Significant amounts of coffee filters
• Glass containers with dried chemical deposits remaining
• Frequent burning of waste materials
• Pillowcases and sheets that are stained red
• Occupants appear secretive about activities
• Extensive security at the home
• Signs that indicate "Private Property" or "Beware of Dog", fences, large shrubs, bushes and trees
• Occupants go outside the house to smoke cigarettes (volatile vapours or fumes in the house)
How do you know when your property has or is being used as a meth lab?
Some warning signs of a meth lab house include:
• Unusual chemical smells that are not normally present in the area
• Numerous chemical containers (labeled solvent, acid, flammable) stored or stockpiled
• Glass equipment and cookware
• Plastic or glass containers fitted with glass or rubber tubing
• Numerous cold tablet packages lying around or in the rubbish
• Portable gas tanks or other cylinders not normally seen or used in the area
• Chemical stains around the household kitchen sink, laundry, toilet or stormwater drains
• Yellow/brown staining of interior floor, wall, ceiling and appliance surfaces
• Mostly closed and/or locked room doors
The presence of methamphetamine is a significant fire risk to your dwelling.