Meth-proof wallpaper may aid home owners
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.’’
It’s worth checking under the wallpaper, a Porirua company says.