PUBLIC housing tenants contaminating homes with methamphetamine are costing the State Government hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The DHHS spent almost $400,000 testing and cleaning up properties affected by methamphetamine over three years.
The drug leaves chemical residue on surfaces of homes long after those responsible have vacated the property, meaning new residents can become ill.
Such contamination is particularly damaging for young children who scientists have found can suffer respiratory, skin and behavioral problems.
Health Department guidelines require property owners to make sure known contaminated homes are cleaned up.
Depending on the level of contamination, that can mean replacing carpets, curtains, walls, ceilings, airconditioning and other fittings.
Department of Health and Human Services spokesman David Stockman said decontamination and rectification work had occurred at six public housing properties between the 2013 and 2016 financial years.
“The total for these works was nearly $400,000. The work included replacing white goods, removal and appropriate disposal of any biohazard material, flushing of drains, cleaning any ventilation systems, removal and replacement of items such as carpets and plasterboard. “The properties were tested and validated as being clear to be retenanted,” he said.
Mr Stockman said clandestine drug-making laboratories were identified through routine inspections or by Victoria Police.
“The department has zero tolerance for tenants using their properties for drug-related offences, and will look to evict where there is evidence to do so,” he said.
Public health scientist and methamphetamine contamination researcher Dr Jackie Wright has found there may be no visible trace of methamphetamine chemicals in a house, but health symptoms can include disrupted sleep with very vivid dreams, anxiety, respiratory problems, an asthma-like wheeze, rashes, behavioural changes in children.
One case she identified was that of a six-year-old whose family moved into a contaminated home without realising. The child later tested positive for adult user levels of the drug.
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