Residue proves a lin­ger­ing prob­lem

Joondalup Times - - COM­MU­NITY DRUG CRI­SIS -

Prop­erty test­ing com­pany Meth Screen said con­tam­i­na­tion was in­vis­i­ble, had no smell and was a “very real is­sue”.

Di­rec­tor David McHugh said Meth Screen had re­cently tested two prop­er­ties in Perth with “se­vere” amounts of meth residue. One, in Tuart Hill, was 50 times over the safe level.

The worst-af­fected ar­eas were the kitchen, din­ing room and laun­dry.

A po­lice spokes­woman said WA con­tin­ued to ex­pe­ri­ence high use of meth. The most clan­des­tine drug labs were found in the south metropoli­tan area and the State’s South West from 2015 to 2017.

The worst-af­fected prop­erty in Australia that Meth Screen tech­ni­cians tested was in Vic­to­ria.

Mr McHugh said the residue there was 600 times above the guide­line level and that the ten­ant had been liv­ing there un­aware for four years.

A De­part­ment of Health spokesman said un­safe lev­els of residue put oc­cu­pants of the prop­erty at risk.

“Health ef­fects may start with dis­tur­bances in be­hav­iour and men­tal well­be­ing but in higher and/or pro­longed ex­po­sure there can be phys­i­o­log­i­cal and patho­log­i­cal im­pacts,” he said.

Mr McHugh added that short-term signs in­cluded headaches, nau­sea, burn­ing skin, dizzi­ness, breath­ing dif­fi­culty and sleep­less­ness.

“Long-term pro­longed ex­po­sure to meth residue also in­creases the risk of dam­age to kid­neys and liver and birth de­fects,” he said.

With the lat­est na­tional waste­water study es­ti­mat­ing that more than eight tonnes of meth is con­sumed an­nu­ally in Australia, and that Perth is the sec­ond high­est per capita, Mr McHugh said it was es­sen­tial to have prop­er­ties tested.

“There are a few tell-tale signs: burn pits in the gar­den, dis­coloura­tion of the floor­ing in the bath­room, par­tic­u­larly around the toi­let and miss­ing light bulbs,” he said.

Pic­ture: David Baylis­mu­ni­ d480678

Steve Ebbs from Meth Screen screen­ing for meth in a kitchen. In­vis­i­ble and odour­less, meth residue poses a se­ri­ous health.

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