Meth Decontamination Guidelines

Testing Companies and individuals come across methamphetamine contamination on a regular basis, however not all contamination is the same, there is contamination from methamphetamine manufacture and then there is contamination caused by smoking methamphetamine. There are two different Meth Decontamination Guidelines which we cover during our meth decontamination courses.

If we have a closer look at the contamination types it becomes clear that contamination from manufacture is much more toxic than contamination caused by smoking methamphetamine.  Contamination from manufacture not only has methamphetamine deposited on surfaces but also precursor chemicals.  The chemicals will vary but could include chemicals such as Pseudoephedrine, Ephedrine, Sodium Hydroxide, Hydrocloric acid, sulphuric acid, Hydriodic acid, Phosphorous acid and Lithium hydroxide depending on the manufacturing process.  During the manufacture process these chemicals volatize into poisonous gases and resettle onto walls and horizontal surfaces in a property, these chemicals are not present when a property has only been smoked in.

The risk differences is recognized by EnHealth which is responsible for the national implementation of Australia’s national health strategy, policies and procedures. See the below Risk matrix table by Enhealth where contaminated properties from smoking has a risk factor of 2-3 as compared to an active meth lab or an un-remediated ex meth lab at a risk factor of 5. The full document can be found HERE.

Exposure Group Potential Population Size Risk Rating*
Detected clan labs
Remediated, post-operation# About 200 1 to 2**
Un-remediated, post operation# About 600 3 to 4***
Operational phase About 800 5
Undetected clan labs
Operational phase Up to10,000 5
Post-operational Up to10,000 4
Methylamphetamine contaminated home (smoking use)
Un-remediated## 10,000s 2 to 3
* Risk is simply rated in order 1 (low i.e. even minor effects to susceptible groups unlikely) to 5 (highest i.e. minor or major health effects possible even for healthy adults)
** Range of risk based on the level of remediation undertaken. Remediation that only addresses surface contamination may leave contamination that can be remobilised during renovations
*** Range of risk based on the method of manufacture and scale of operations
# Assumes the current low level of remediation activity in Australia (taken to be around 25%)
## No properties assumed to be remediated as there are no programs in Australia to identify and address these properties

Methamphetamine Remediation Guidelines

Knowing that there is a difference also means that remediating a contaminated property caused by smoking methamphetamine can be different and in fact is indeed different.  There are two Government methamphetamine remediation guidelines available to work from, they are the “Australian Remediation Guidelines” which only applies when remediating a property where methamphetamine manufacture has occurred and then there is the “Interim Guidelines for Remediation of Low Level Illicit Drug Contamination” that applies to properties contaminated from smoking methamphetamine.

We know that most contamination in Australia is from usage so there should be little reason to strip anything these days. For low level smoking contamination carpets can be deep cleaned and kept, light fixtures and fittings can be cleaned and kept in fact most things in “smoke house” contamination can be cleaned and kept, this should also be reflected in the remediation costs.

For more information of guidelines or remediation processes email

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