Standard on the testing and decontamination of methamphetamine-affected properties — progress update, November 2016
At its meeting on 1 November 2016, the committee developing the standard (NZS 8510) received a presentation from the toxicologist who was the lead author of a report to the Ministry of Health.
The report was a review of the Ministry’s 2010 guideline values for cleaning up former clandestine methamphetamine laboratories and was provided by Environmental Science and Research Ltd (ESR), a Crown research institute.
The committee also had an opportunity to discuss details of the ESR report with the lead author, Dr Jeff Fowles. The purpose of the report was to review the Ministry’s 2010 guideline level and provide risk assessment recommendations to the committee preparing the New Zealand standard on methamphetamine testing and decontamination.
The report’s recommendations cover properties used for manufacturing methamphetamine (clandestine laboratories), and provide additional advice on clean up levels in properties where methamphetamine has been used, but not manufactured (non-clandestine laboratories). Recommendations on maximum methamphetamine residue levels (after decontamination) based on exposure risk, include:
In the meantime, the committee agrees with the Ministry of Health advice that local authorities should continue to be guided by the current guideline level of 0.5 µg/100cm2 where there is evidence that a property has been used as a clandestine laboratory (for example, uncovered by Police, or evidence of manufacturing exists, such as drug manufacturing equipment and chemicals).
Where a property has been contaminated by use of methamphetamine, but there is no evidence that the contamination was due to manufacture of methamphetamine, the standards committee supports the Ministry of Health advice to use the levels of 2.0 µg/100cm2 (if carpeting and other soft furnishings are removed) or 1.5 µg/100cm2 (if carpeting and other soft furnishings are not removed) as an interim guide. The standards committee supports the application of these additional guideline levels as an interim measure for assessing the decontamination of non-clandestine laboratories until further work on developing the New Zealand standard is completed. Further work on the standard includes releasing a draft of the standard for public comment, followed by a review by the standards committee of all public comments, and deciding on any changes that need to be made before reaching consensus on the final content of the standard.
The committee meets again in mid-November 2016 to go through the draft standard in detail to prepare it for release for public comment. If you wish to be advised when the draft standard becomes available for comment, please subscribe to our free e-magazine Touchstone.