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Meth Testing Melbourne
If you need reliable meth testing and advice by a qualified company in the Melbourne area, Greenlight offer services including:
Sample collection by a tertiary qualified occupational hygienist*;
NATA accredited laboratory analysis;
Documented location details with photos;
Recommendations for any further actions, if needed;
Two levels of investigation depending on your requirements - a Basic screen including 5 samples, or a forensic level testing for drug lab investigations or remediation validation reports**.
*Be wary of companies that offer sample collection by field techs that have no tertiary training - these reports do not meet the National Guidelines and these companies often have a business relationship with the remediation companies (i.e. a conflict of interest).
** We do not as a rule practice composite sampling - this practice is not compliant with the National Guidelines which require that a minimum of 5 separate samples be collected.
Please be aware that this is an unregulated industry which means that you need to be careful who you choose - you may save money upfront only to find yourself in a financial bind later if you are not careful.
On This Page
What are the Health Effects of Exposure to Meth Residue?
Health effects of families living within a former Clandestine drug lab or even homes where there has been illicit drug use have been noted to consistently include respiratory issues and behavioural changes with a greater impact on children than on adults. Other health effects have been noted to include: skin rashes, headaches, sore eyes, sleep disturbance and dizziness.
What is a Clandestine Drug Lab?
Clandestine drug laboratories, also known as Clan Labs, can range from smaller operations usually run by addicts of the drug through to larger industrial scale laboratories run by criminal organisations. A large portion of the detected labs in Australia have consistently been associated with the manufacture of ATS (Amphetamine Type Substances) excluding MDMA and for the most part within the smaller addict-based type laboratories typically run from a residence. (ACIC, 2016-17).
Engaging a Qualified Consultant
The Australian Clandestine Drug Laboratory Remediation Guidelines require that investigations: “should be conducted by a suitably qualified expert with experience in the fields of environmental engineering, environmental science, environmental health or occupational hygiene, who is in possession of tertiary qualifications in one of these disciplines from a recognised educational institution.”
To avoid possible conflicts and biased testing, ensure that your consultant possesses one of the above tertiary qualifications.
Avoid Unqualified Technicians
Please note that the Clan Lab investigation and remediation industry is unregulated and there are a few companies operating in Australia that use unqualified field technicians for the collection of samples. Some of these companies may present their results with a covering letter by a qualified person. If the cover letter is read in full it will show that the site was not visited by the qualified person. This practice is not compliant with the Guidelines – the consultant visiting the site must be themselves qualified to carry out such investigations.
Can We Collect Samples Ourselves?
To avoid some expense, some people opt to carry out their own testing. While this is possible, it is potentially a disastrous course of action in two ways:
You may not adequately test your property and miss the presence of a meth contamination (false negative);
You may over-sample and obtain a ‘false-positive’ - this might then lead you to an expensive and unnecessary remediation exercise.
The testing threshold for acceptable levels of meth residue is extremely fine - just 0.5 micrograms per 100 square centimetres. A microgram is one thousandth of a milligram, or one millionth of a gram, or billionth of a kilogram! - it is easy to get this wrong one way or the other. It is for this reason that you should only have testing carried out by a tertiary qualified occupational hygienist with adequate training in residue testing. This is also the requirement of the National Guidelines for Clandestine Drug Lab Remediation.
Don’the put your health OR your wealth at risk - engage a qualified consultant.
What are the Acceptable levels of Meth in a House?
The samples collected should be compared to the appropriate Investigation Level as defined by the Australian Government Clandestine Drug Laboratory Remediation Guidelines e.g.:
Where should Meth Testing Samples be collected?
The following rules apply to the collection of meth samples:
Minimum Samples: A minimum of 5 separate sample are to be collected - composite samples if used would count as only one sample;
Areas with Children: The areas tested must include any rooms occupied by children (under the age of 16). This is due to the higher impact of meth residue on children than on adults.
Visually Contaminated Areas: Any areas that show evidence of contamination must be tested (e.g. staining);
Behind Furniture: Areas behind furniture items must be avoided.
Recently Cleaned: Areas deemed to be recently cleaned should be avoided;
Ventilation Ducts: Ventilation ducts close to suspected areas of drug manufacture (if that is relevant) must be tested.
How should Meth Testing Samples be collected?
The sampling should be carried out in accordance with the methodology described in the NIOSH method 9111 “Methamphetamine on Wipes by LC/MS”, i.e.
1) Double latex non-powdered gloves are worn by the consultant during sampling activities;
2) A 10cm x 10 cm cardboard template should be adhered to a selected surface using blue-tac or masking tape;
3) A pre-prepared swab wetted with methanol should be used to collect each sample;
4) Using firm pressure, the area of the template should wiped in an “S” pattern;
5) Folding the swab over with sample side in, and without touching any other surface, the area should be wiped again using firm pressure in a perpendicular “S” pattern;
6) The sample should be placed into a plastic or glass tube and the lid screwed shut ready for transport;
7) Outer gloves, and templates should be then bagged in a zip-lock bag for disposal as contaminated waste;
8) A unique sample identifier should be written on the tube and the chain of custody along with any location information;
9) All samples should be bagged within an evidence bag for transportation to the laboratory (same day) and kept on ice within an esky;
Collection of samples should only be carried out by a tertiary qualified and appropriately trained and experienced consultant. Failure to adhere to the testing methodology or sample location selection in any way can lead to:
False positives where a contamination is identified where it does not actually exist; or
False negatives where a contamination is missed by the testing carried out.
Either of these is disastrous. For this reason you should only hire a trained and tertiary qualified consultant.
What is a Phase II Investigation?
A Phase II Investigation is an initial screening of the property to ascertain if a further investigation (and remediation of the site) is warranted. Phase II Investigations may be carried out where a property manager wishes to rule out the possibility of a clan lab without incurring the expense of a full Phase III Investigation . In any instance where there is a strong suspicion or evidence of a Clan Lab (i.e. drug production), a more detailed Phase III investigation should be carried out in the first instance instead.
A Phase II Investigation should consist of a minimum of 5 samples tested for methamphetamine, amphetamine, ephedrine & pseudoephedrine as well as any other contaminants deemed necessary based on the initial information provided to the qualified consultant.
The practice of composite sampling as practiced by some companies (sampling from a number of locations and combining for analysis in the lab) - is not compliant with the Guidelines unless there are a minimum of 5 individual samples analysed in a lab in total (meaning say 25 composite sample locations as a minimum).
What is a Phase III Investigation?
A Phase III Investigation is more intensive and will include all information necessary to remediate the property where required. It should include all the elements of a Phase II Investigation and should additionally include:
Visual inspection of the entire property including the property exterior for evidence of waste disposal (e.g. dead vegetation);
Collection of soil samples if warranted by the visual inspection of the exterior;
Collection of additional samples, ideally with one or more sample collected within each room;
Sampling of waste water where waste is collected on the property within a tank.
Meth Testing in Melbourne - Summary
To summarise, meth residue in residential housing is a rising concern and can have serious health implications particularly on children. Testing should only be carried out by tertiary qualified and trained consultants. Avoid untrained field technicians or meth testing kits as are used by some companies - these can lead to false positives (expensive) or false negatives (health consequences).