Test for Methamphetamine Contamination at Envirolab


In response to growing concerns over the contamination left behind by clandestine methamphetamine labs, Envirolab Sydney is now testing for methamphetamine, MDMA, ephedrine and pseudoephedrine.


Background: Methamphetamine as a Growing Problem
Methamphetamine or 'meth' is a stimulant with a potential to become an addictive drug. 

Meth has four forms, tablet, powder ('speed'), crystal ('ice') and oil. With various street names including chalk, crank, crystal and glass, among other terms, meth is generally heated and the vapours are inhaled. It can also be snorted, dissolved in water or alcohol and injected.

Methamphetamine is often synthesised in makeshift laboratories, which are referred to as clandestine ('clan') drug laboratories. A meth lab can be set up using common household equipment and chemicals. There are currently hundreds of labs being found in residential homes, hotel rooms inside kitchen cabinets and even in the boots of cars, with relatively inexpensive precursor substances. The most common precursor, pseudoephedrine, is a key ingredient in over-the-counter cold and flu medicationss or other properties in Australia.

According to the Australian Crime Commission’s Illicit Drug Data Report, more than 740 clandestine laboratories were detected during 2013-14, the period that the report was conducted. The number of clandestine laboratories detected nationally has increased 95.2 per cent over the last decade. The 744 laboratories identified during this reporting period represented the third highest number on record with Queensland accounting for the greatest proportion.

Of note, the 740 labs identified in the report represent labs detected by the police and therefore, not the actual number in operation.


Methamphetamine Contamination Can Linger For Years
Meth labs may be set up in a variety of spaces of homes, rental properties and businesses: sheds, campgrounds, motel rooms, farms, vacant buildings, garages and rental homes and apartments.

Methamphetamine production involves a number of other, very hazardous chemicals. The chemicals used in the manufacturing process are highly toxic, volatile and hence, combustible. It’s very easy for meth labs to cause explosions, damaging the property as well as neighbouring areas, plus endangering lives.

During the manufacturing process of methamphetamines, chemicals become volatized (airborne) and then deposit onto surfaces including benchtops, tiles, walls, ceilings, carpets, ventilation ducts and flooring. Waste from the manufacturing process is often disposed of down the sink or stored/disposed of in surrounding areas, such as backyards and gardens.

Toxicity from these chemicals can remain long after the lab has been shut down and cleared by law enforcement agencies, causing a wide range of health problems for people living in the area, and also putting property owners at risk of liability.

While National Crime and Corruption guidelines specify property owners should make their building safe for future tenants, there is currently in 2016 no legislation in Australia regarding compulsory remediation. Therefore, property owners, landlords, property investors and prospective property purchasers need to understand the physical dangers and the immense financial impact of methamphetamine contamination.

Testing for Methamphetamine Contamination at Envirolab Services
Do you think your rental property or prospective property purchase might be affected by methamphetamine contamination?

It is important that property owners and managers, local councils as well as relevant members from government and law enforcement are provided with the highest level of quality service and a rapid turnaround when testing for methamphetamine contamination

Envirolab Sydney analyses for methamphetamine, MDMA, ephedrine and pseudoephedrine. Here, the team at Envirolab Sydney utilises NIOSH methodologies and state of the art LC-MS/MS instrumentation for the analysis of clandestine drug lab samples, methamphetamine, MDMA, ephedrine and PSE.

For more information on what’s involved or the process for testing your property or premises,  call 1300 424 344 or email us today.

Alternatively, download a copy of our Envirolab brochure on contamination testing for methamphetamine, MDMA, ephedrine and pseudoephedrine.

News list