Buying a house in Gladstone? This inspector can screen it for meth
ACCORDING to Termi-Build building inspector Brendon Lawn, about twenty percent of rental properties around Australia have been contaminated in some way by methamphetamine.
Exposure to methamphetamine residue may result in headaches, rashes, eye irritation, sleep disorders and respiratory illness.
Long term exposure to the drug, even in small quantities, can have serious health effects, particularly on toddlers crawling across contaminated surfaces.
"If I'm conducting a building and pest inspection on a dwelling and suspect that the previous residents have been making, or using, meth, then I suit up and start swab testing," Mr Lawn told The Observer.
Signs methamphetamine (also known as ice) has been produced in a house include rusting metal light and door knob fittings, or walls stained reddish-brown.
Mr Lawn said most contamination in buildings was caused by people smoking ice, and there were few, if any, obvious indications of drug use.
"One tell-tale sign is discovering all the smoke alarms have been disconnected or all the light bulbs are missing," he said.
"The bases are used to smoke ice."
Australia has one of the highest rates of methamphetamine use in the world, and Mr Lawn warns it's not just older dwellings at risk, but also brand new dwellings which may have been contaminated by tradesmen smoking ice.
He said the best time to check a property was before selling or buying, particularly if the property is in an area known for ice usage.
"If I do find traces of meth, then the results are immediately referred to MethScreen for an in depth test to determine the level of contamination," he said.
"If levels are over .5 mg per 10cm2 then the property will need to be decontaminated by a professional decontamination company," he said.
Currently there is no legislation in place requiring property owners to check if their property has been contaminated, or to forensically clean a property after a meth lab raid has been conducted.
"Home buyers wishing to put their minds at ease can call me and arrange a time for a test as part of a pre-purchase building and pest inspection," Mr Lawn said.
Click here to go to the Termi-Build website.