Meth homes cause no risk

By Jessica Tyson

A new report shows there's no risk to humans from third-hand exposure to houses where meth has been consumed.

Last year Minister of Housing and Urban Development Phil Twyford commissioned the prime minister’s chief science advisor, Professor Sir Peter Gluckman, to assess the risks with a new report.

“There has been a widely held perception that the presence of even low levels of meth residue in a house poses a health risk to occupants,” says Twyford.

“As a result, remediation to eliminate contamination has been an extremely costly business for landlords and an upheaval for tenants being evicted at short notice”. 

Depending on Cabinet agreement, Twyford says there will be a public consultation document on meth regulations later this year.

New Zealand Drug Foundation Executive Director Ross Bell welcomes the introduction of new regulations.

“The panic around exposure to third-hand methamphetamine has grown out of all proportion to the actual risks, as this report shows.  This report lays out a strong case for regulations that will safeguard the health of New Zealanders”.

The Drug Foundation has long been critical of both the standard of testing and what constitutes a safe level of exposure when methamphetamine has been consumed in a property.

“The message that testing is only warranted in very few cases needs to reach every kiwi homeowner, landlord, tenant and social housing provider.  When this report sinks in, we can expect to see demand for testing to drop right away,” says Bell.