CHECKING for the presence of meth should be part of standard checks before buying a house, along with pest and building inspections, a Darwin company warns.
Octief is well known in the NT for testing asbestos and hazardous materials, but has now branched out into testing homes for the presence of methamphetamines, or “ice”.
Octief’s National Sales Manager Bryan Goodall said Darwin was a “hotspot” for meth in Australia.
“Darwin, Perth and Gold Coast are definitely hot spots that have a higher number of users per capita,” he said He said potential side effects from residual methamphetamine contamination ranged from respiratory problems and psychosis to organ damage, with small children and babies at higher risk.
“We’re screening properties to ensure people’s safety and make sure they’re not at risk from contamination,” Mr Goodall said.
“We can tell you whether it has been manufactured or whether it has been used, we can tell you if it’s from manufacture or from use.”
Testing for methamphetamine contamination is becoming commonplace in Europe and New Zealand but Australia is lagging behind in awareness, Mr Goodall said.
“This is very much an emerging market but we have adopted an internationally recognised screening process which is adopted as the global
standard for best practice,” he said. The residue can leech through paint and even timber.
It is at a homeowner’s discretion whether they test their rental property for the presence of meth but the owner of a property has an obligation
to ensure that any rental property is safe and free of hazards or toxic chemicals, Mr Goodall said. “It stays on the walls and it doesn’t go away … the cost of decontamination can be really high,” Mr Goodall said.
“Most properties can be decontaminated, it depends how badly contaminated it is, a smoker in a couple of rooms can be around the $10,000 mark.
“It can be so bad that houses have to be demolished, but that is very rare, in Australia it is as little as 10 per year.” Octief provides a standard baseline test from $550, taking 10 samples from the property.
Written by Jill Poulsen of the NT News.