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