Testing a new Rental Home for past Illicit Drug Manufacture

We have read in the past that if someone was manufacturing illicit drugs in a house that there can be residual amounts of the drugs in the walls carpet etc. and that this could be dangerous. There are even companies that test for these. I have also read that there are possibly some dodgy operators in this field. Can anyone point me to an article that would clarify this issue one way or another?

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You say you have read about this issue. Where did you read about this? Was it an authoritative source? Was the information verified?

With the current lack of rental accommodation, it would be a stroke of luck to get a new rental premises. From what is happening around here, renters can not be choosy. Landlords are not going to be holding a place for you while you do drug testing of the premises.

Sorry to be cynical, but I think you would be much better being on the look out for for electrical faults, structural faults, excessive noise, air pollution, asbestos products, rising damp, mould and mildew, etc.

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The results of a search could be instructive noting some hits are government agencies and others wishing to sell their services.

WA has a number of relevant advisories such as this

And a kit offered through the WA government could be informative regarding potential costs and the limitations of a basic test kit, eg swabbing.

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Here’s one.

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Thanks. I seem to remember one from SA government as well.

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Thanks for your advice, the issue is there will be a new born arriving and we want to be as safe as possible.

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And here’s an example of a company’s spin on it:

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There is always the option of talking to the neighbours and others in the street. How they respond to the approach may be informative on more than one aspect concerning the property.

While the risks are real, the likelihood may be very low. The industry promoting testing has an interest in exaggerating the likelihood and encouraging potential customers to see only the worst possibilities.

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Thanks, that’s a great idea about neighbours. Your second point is the reason we are hoping to find out more from a reliable source.

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I am amazed by this article. It comes across like a publicity release from the business that does the meth detection.

This part I have trouble accepting:
My energy was really low and then I broke out in a skin rash on my shoulder and my arm," Ms Rawlinson said. "My doctor did biopsies and it all came back inconclusive, so I contacted a company that does meth testing and the house came back positive.
How do you go from having low energy and a skin rash to suddenly suspecting your home was a contaminated with meth, unless you have prior knowledge of the effects of meth?

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Good point.

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I found this article which talks about the NZ experience:
"a report by New Zealand’s Chief Science Adviser, Professor Sir Peter Gluckman, has shed light on the risks.

Professor Gluckman said the risk of encountering methamphetamine on home surfaces at levels that might cause harm is “extremely low” and found no evidence that residue from home meth smoking would harm future residents.

““There’s absolutely no evidence in the medical literature anywhere in the world, of anybody being harmed by passive exposure to methamphetamine at any level,” said Sir Peter.”

"In four years, state housing authority Housing New Zealand (HNZ) spent over $100 million testing and decontaminating houses suspected of being meth contaminated.

Many houses were demolished and several hundred homes were left vacant. However, research showed that of the 1,600 homes HNZ suspected were contaminated, only one per cent contained traces of 30 micrograms or more."

Please note that only those homes which were suspect were tested. So the percentage of all rental homes that are actually contaminated is very very very small.

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Interesting read. Thanks.

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I think it would be likely that if you forensically tested homes you would detect amounts of almost everything considered harmful, if in excess levels. Lead, asbestos, silica, dust mites, mold, bacteria, radioactivity, gas, and on and on.

The issue is whether the level poses a health risk.

I find it instructive that in that ABC article that a company, engaged for testing, found every house, that is 100%, had meth residue. Nothing is said about whether levels found were above any sort of health risk. Also highly suspicious that 0% of houses had no traces.

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Thanks for your reply. You make some great points.

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I agree with @Gregr, potential illicit substances are least of one’s worry. It seems like those who provide testing or cleaning services are those generating the fear, for the sole reason to sell more of their services.

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Maybe rather than being sorry for being cynical you should have not left a comment? Just saying.

John everyone has provided very salient opinions. My first thought was if you are reluctant to use a company to test the house, you might consider a DIY residue testing kit OR - example in link below of a company that provides costing to test a house. The link below is just one of many such companies providing the service.

Maybe CHOICE could consider doing testing of the DIY testing kits and publish the results. As well as investigate some of the companies that provide the service

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I suggest that Choice do not do that!!!
What are they supposed to do? Go out and obtain some meth, an illegal substance, and sprinkle it around and test how well some detection kits work?
Did you think about that before posting?

@johnmw1 it’s a big War on Drugs scam. The crims are only half the story, the Law Enforcement Agencies keep it going because it’s a way to get funding. Globally this is how police are funded. Use it or lose it. And as for the cleaning services? They are cleaning up on your unfounded fears!
Put some rubber gloves and a mask on like the “Breaking Bad” boys (personally, I wouldn’t even bother with the mask) grab a mop and do it yourself!
Disclaimer: Ex-copper myself, now a supporter of LEAP. And if you want to go down a “War on Drugs” rabbit hole google Neil Woods, eye-opening stuff indeed!

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