Meth Testing and Remediating Properties
Department of Health Approved and Accredited Provider
Forensic Pathways provides an accredited (Department of Health approved) service for assessing, screening, testing and remediation of properties contaminated with methamphetamine. Our staff have scientific, forensic and legal qualifications setting us apart from the rest of the field. Our staff will attend your property and carry out a thorough visual examination for signs of methamphetamine, use, manufacture and contamination. The Forensic Assessment involves taking samples to determine if contamination is present. If the property is found to be contaminated, we provide you with a comprehensive Remediation Action Plan which outlines the procedures required to effectively remove the methylamphetamine contamination and any other hazards. There are four steps in the remediation process. On site survey and Inspection, Forensic Testing and Assessment, Remediation and Decontamination cleaning, followed by Forensic Validation testing. Clandestine Meth labs and methamphetamine users contaminate properties with dangerous toxins and chemicals that attach not only to themselves but to most surfaces within a property, even after the ‘cooking’ apparatus has been removed by police. The chemicals are transferred through contact, air conditioners and other ventilation systems making contamination widespread and difficult to remove. Properties can also be heavily contaminated by those just smoking or using meth. The meth vapours can pose serious health problems to anyone inhabiting a contaminated property.
Our testing procedure is done in accordance with Australian and International standards. Samples are sent to an independent lab for analysis. In accordance with governmental standards remediation requires decontamination to near non detectable levels. Normal commercial cleaning products have proved ineffective therefore we only employ a specific neutralising agent to ensure the property is decontaminated to safe and accepted levels. We utilise the latest cleaning and testing technology to ensure these standards are met.
On site survey and Inspection
Due to a wide variety of issues, including liability and insurance and a current lack of readily accessible information, many contaminated premises are being cleaned incorrectly and unsafely, potentially exposing both current and future occupants (or anyone who enters the property without suitable protective equipment) to serious health risks.
Forensic Testing and Assessment
Forensic Pathways offers the highest quality meth clan lab cleaning service available on the market today. In accordance with governmental standards remediation requires decontamination to near non detectable levels. The assessment, detection and remediation of properties contaminated with methamphetamine should only be carried out by accredited, experienced and qualified contractors.
Remediation and Decontamination
The remediation (cleaning) process, depending on the site assessment, can include:
Removal and disposal of all lose waste material, furniture and window treatments, material including syringes and other drug paraphernalia, decontamination treatment of all internal surfaces using specific methamphetamine neutralizing chemicals, wash and vacuum extract surfaces with standard commercial cleaning reagents, flush all drains (kitchen, bathroom and outside drains) with chemical neutralisers, steam clean all soft furnishings including blinds, high pressure clean all paved areas, and check soils for chemical disposal sites.
Forensic Validation testing
Following the remediation process, the property will be re-tested and samples sent to an independent laboratory for analysis. The laboratory uses state of the art chromatography techniques that are extremely sensitive to very small levels of contaminant. In order to sign off a property the levels of methamphetamine contamination must be below the accepted Australian Standard of 0.5ug/100cm2 (internal surfaces of residential properties). Once the property is certified as contaminant free, we will provide a validation report and sign off the property for re-habitation.
"There were several indicators consistent with methamphetamine use/contamination, including absence of light globes, characteristic staining on the ceiling and the presence of syringes."
Rental Property Contamination
Successful remediation and re-occupation
In early 2019, Forensic Pathways attended the site to conduct an initial site survey after the client believed there was a reasonable suspicion that the property had been exposed to methamphetamine contamination.
The property was in a state of disrepair and unoccupied, but contained furniture and other personal belongings throughout the dwelling. The absence of light globes, characteristic staining on the ceiling and the presence of syringes were some of the indicators that were observed inside this property consistent with features commonly found in properties contaminated with methamphetamine.
Several internal surface swabs were taken from inside the premises to determine the level of contamination, with testing indicating that there was low levels of methylamphetamine contamination throughout the house, with the kitchen, bedroom 1 and 2, and bathroom above the acceptable limit for residential properties in Western Australia.
Methylamphetamine or Methamphetamine (Meth), belongs to a class of stimulant drugs known as amphetamines, and is highly addictive. Methamphetamine comes in three main forms: powder or pill (speed), a sticky paste (base), and crystal methamphetamine (ice).
The majority of methamphetamine seized in Australia originates from China and its provinces. It has become more economical to purchase the finished product from overseas rather than manufacture methamphetamine domestically, and consequently it has become more profitable to sell. The number of clandestine laboratory detections in Western Australia has declined five-fold from the peak in 2010-11. Despite the increasing number of seizures by law enforcement, weights of drug being seized are also increasing. Since 2010-11 there has been a five-fold increase in the number of seizures, and a 19-fold increase in the total weight of seizures.
Use can have some dangerous side effects, such as:
Increased distractibility, nausea, dry mouth and bad breath, dilated pupils, tremors, muscle twitching, memory loss, aggressive or violent behaviour, mood disturbances, severe dental problems, weight loss, skin sores from intense itching, rapid or irregular heart rate, increased blood pressure. Long-term methamphetamine use can lead to:
feelings of aggressiveness and anxiety, confusion, insomnia, methamphetamine psychosis, paranoia, aggression, visual and auditory hallucinations, mood disturbances, and delusions.
High levels of meth residue can pose health risks. Chemical residue, left over from the manufacturing and smoking process, can seep into soft furnishings, carpets, timber floors and door frames, and even walls and ceilings. Health issues such as stinging eyes, nose and throat irritation, respiratory problems, rashes, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, confusion, fatigue, blurry vision and headache are common reactions. Children, adults, and pets living in contaminated dwellings have been known to suffer ill-effects of exposure.
Over the longer term and with regular use, methamphetamine alters the activity of the dopamine system, draining the brain’s dopamine reserve and damaging the ability to produce more. Regular damage can effectively wear out dopamine receptors in the brain, diminishing the brain’s ability to experience pleasure naturally. This leads to users no longer ‘feeling normal’ without methamphetamine, causing re-use and, for some, chronic abuse of the drug.
Crystal, Meth, Ice, and Speed are the most common names, but a large number or other nicknames are also used for Methylamphetamine or Methamphetamine, such as:
Batu, Crank, Chalk, Chalk Dust, Chunky Love, Cookies, Cotton Candy, Crystal Glass, Crystal Meth, Christina, Cris, Cristy, Dunk, Gak, Garbage, Geep, Getgo, Getter, Go Fast, Go-Go Juice, Hanyak, Hironpon, Hiropon, Hot Ice, Ice Cream, Junk, Kaksonjae, LA Glass, LA Ice, No Doze, Pookie, Quartz, Rocket Fuel, Scooby Snax. Super Ice, Tina, Trash, Wash, White Cross, and White Crunch.
Any property used for cooking or smoking meth must be acknowledged as a serious health and bio-hazard risk for current and future occupants. Residue generated in the cooking process can seep into walls, porous materials, furniture, sewage systems and ventilation units causing serious financial and health risks.
Landlords have a legal obligation to provide a safe rental property, while property managers also have a duty of care to protect the health and safety of tenants. Any toxins present a liability risk and allowing a contaminated home to be occupied may breach the Residential Tenancies Act in their state/territory, or break building, environmental and health legislation.