Most work orders are received for testing of a vacant house/unit. This is a simple case of meeting a rep from the housing group on site to establish the presence of meth. This is done using a Rapid test, also known as a field test. This test will return a positive or negative result, much like the common pregnancy test. The test is accurate and returns a result in minutes. There are several key locations in a dwelling to test for the initial existence of meth.
If a dwelling shows a positive result for meth, we can then conduct swab testing, referred to as ‘Lab tests’. The swabs collect a sample of the wall surface in a 10cm x 10cm square. This is in accordance with NIOSH 9111, an international standard that allows a constant for all tests if they are done correctly. A swab of an area greater than the standard would return a result higher than if the sample had been taken correctly under NIOSH 9111, elevating the count. This is done by companies to scare clients into a costly remediation clean/treatment. This practice is unethical and fraudulent but continues to occur in the industry.
The swabs/labs are sealed in a vial on site with a tamper proof lid. A chain of custody document is filled out on site and all is placed in a plastic express envelope and given to the client on site to post. The option to this, allows a qualified technician to carry out all testing and post on behalf of the client.
The selected lab needs to be a NATA approved laboratory to carry out the analysis on the swabs. The lab will email the results of the testing as it is completed, giving a count of meth residue in micro-grams. The Australian guidelines allow for .5mu (micrograms) per 100 square centimetres. If the result is higher than .5mu, cleaning should be conducted. Before cleaning, a remediation action plan should be outlined. The remediation action plan is extensive and may be costly. The cost varies greatly, depending on what the contamination levels are and who you contract.
All fibrous material may need to be removed from the dwelling. This includes, but is not limited to carpets, curtains, blinds, furniture etc… The remediation action plan will list everything to be removed and disposed of before the cleaning process begins.
The cleaning process is generally a four-step wash-down of all surfaces in the dwelling and can take several days. When the decontamination process is complete, clearance testing should be done by a third party. This removes a conflict of interest.
Housing agencies and real estate should test all new inventory, as or before it comes to the agent to be leased. The health issues caused by manufacturing or ‘cook houses’ is significant, especially to children, the aged, or those with allergies or poor immune systems.