Meth-proof wall­pa­per may aid home own­ers

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - VIR­GINIA FAL­LON

The last line of de­fense against meth con­tam­i­na­tion may well be pa­per thin.

A Porirua business has re­sponded to New Zealand’s metham­phetamine pan­demic by mak­ing the meth-proof qual­i­ties of its wall­pa­per a sell­ing point.

As­pir­ing Walls man­ager Neil Mac­don­ald said ini­tial test­ing showed its prod­uct could save prop­erty own­ers hundreds of thou­sands of dol­lars.

In­de­pen­dent tests of a con­tam­i­nated home showed that, while the wall­pa­per tested pos­i­tive for the drug, the gib un­der­neath did not, he said.

‘‘Ba­si­cally, it’s like adding a pro­tec­tive mem­brane that can be peeled off and re­placed.

‘‘What it means is that in­stead of hav­ing to rip walls out of houses, peo­ple should be test­ing un­der the wall­pa­per first.’’

The pa­per used was a solid vinyl prod­uct al­ready found in New Zealand homes and the test­ing had been done to a level of smok­ing meth in­side a house - not man­u­fac­tur­ing it.

The com­pany had ap­proached the coun­try’s largest land­lord, Hous­ing NZ, with their test re­sults, he said.

‘‘They spend hundreds of thou­sands of dol­lars on meth­con­tam­i­na­tion and this could save them and tax­pay­ers a heck of a lot of money.’’

A Hous­ing NZ spokesman said the or­gan­i­sa­tion was open to dis­cussing the prod­uct with As­pir­ing Walls.

Dr Nick Kim, a se­nior lec­turer in en­vi­ron­men­tal chem­istry at Massey Univer­sity, said there was a dif­fer­ence be­tween the smok­ing of meth and the man­u­fac­tur­ing and he wouldn’t ex­pect any sig­nif­i­cant pen­e­tra­tion if the wall­pa­per was a plas­tic (poly­mer) type, or rea­son­ably thick, and the source of the meth was smok­ing.

There could be more pen­e­tra­tion in the case of a man­u­fac­tur­ing op­er­a­tion, be­cause the walls them­selves may be­come ‘‘wet’’ from high con­cen­tra­tions of sol­vents present in the air from be­ing used as part of the cook­ing process, he said.

Kim said ad­vice around re­mov­ing gib was based on Min­istry of Health guide­lines specif­i­cally for prop­er­ties con­tam­i­nated by meth man­u­fac­tur­ing – and where a wide range of chem­i­cals are present.

‘‘I think they make a valid point for walls for a prop­erty, where the first bar­rier that Hous­ing NZ could con­sider to pro­tect the pub­lic in­vest­ment is the rou­tine use of wall­pa­per.’’

123RF

It’s worth check­ing un­der the wall­pa­per, a Porirua com­pany says.

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