Meth Testing: The New Norm for Home Buyers

More than ever, home buyers are extra vigilant when inspecting their new building. Not only do they pay attention to asbestos and pests – they also test their new property for drugs.

One of these drugs is methamphetamine, or meth.

What is methamphetamine?

Meth is an odorless, bitter-tasting powder stimulant that easily dissolves in alcohol or water.

Some forms are prescribed legally as a medication for the treatment of narcolepsy, obesity, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However, in its illicit forms, it’s a powerful, extremely addictive drug.

Meth is euphoria-inducing to the user, releasing dopamine, serotonin and noradrenaline into the brain. Users consume meth in various ways: smoking from a glass pipe, injecting, snorting or swallowing. From this, chemical residue can seep from carpets, walls, furniture, and even ceilings. New tenants can have serious health problems if their building has a history of meth contamination. Some of the health risks include breathing difficulties, asthma-type symptoms, moodiness, sleep troubles, and skin irritation.

At Envirofree, we recommend meth testing as one of the inspections to carry out before you seal the deal on your new home.

Why do I need a meth test?

Below are a couple of reasons why you should get a meth test on your property pre-purchase.

Family Health

There is no safe level of meth exposure. Anyone in the family can be affected at different levels. Children are at a higher risk of experiencing symptoms as a result of meth exposure. They have smaller bodies, their respiratory rate is faster, and they engage in hand-to-mouth activity. This is not to say that adults are low-risk. Those with complex health issues, such as auto-immune conditions, are also at a high risk of harm when exposed to meth.

Financial Risk

A financial risk comes with buying a meth-contaminated property. It’s very expensive to clean and reinstate such a property. Cleaning for meth contamination can cost between $8,000 and upwards of $55,000, depending on the extent of the exposure. The cost could include carpet, kitchen furnishings, and wall demolition.

How do I do a meth inspection in my new home?

Meth contamination tends to be invisible, especially when properties have been prepared for the housing market. Since meth is odorless, it’s difficult to detect. Even law enforcement agencies find it difficult to spot the houses where meth has been used or manufactured.

The best way to screen for meth? Laboratory testing.

Laboratory testing

To be on the safe side, you should include a lab-based meth test as part of Sale and Purchase property agreement. Use the test result to make a purchasing decision.

A DIY meth test kit starts from $100, and an initial inspection cost is around $350. To determine the level of contamination, a further test is required. The cost of this test starts from $2,800.

Let’s look at the cases where the result is positive:

Case A: The level of contamination is low

The first thing to do? Consider how this result would impact you in the future, when you want to sell the property. Have this back of your mind when you make your offer. Also, consider the current status of the property, such as recent renovations or paint jobs.

Case B: The level of contamination is high

If you still want to go ahead and buy this type of property, make an informed decision on your purchase. Request a further detailed screening to understand the full extent of the problem.

Summary

Methamphetamine is a highly addictive substance that can seep into its surrounding environment. This exposure is a health risk to future inhabitants.

You will be spending at least tens of thousands of dollars to purchase your new property. So, when you factor that in, the cost of a meth test should not be so much of a problem.

To sum up: do not unwittingly buy a meth-contaminated home. Play it safe and include a meth screening as part of the pre-purchase inspection.

What Is Land Contamination? Risk Assessment and Remediation

What is land contamination?

The land is the ‘universal sink’ of our environment. Land contamination occurs when substances, wastes, hazardous chemicals, or oil are released into the environment.

When these hazardous materials are in high concentrations in the environment, they migrate to potable groundwater. As a result, they expose themselves to humans and other organisms. In this case, we are all exposed to risks to our health, ecology and business liability.

Contaminated land does not only affect humans – it affects all living organisms. Alongside the health and environmental impacts, it has major economic, legal, and planning implications.

The causes

Land contamination occurs for many reasons. The reasons can be accidental or natural. Either way, it poses a severe risk to the environment.

1. Accidental spill sites

Accidental spills can release thousands of litres of gas, oil, and chemicals into the land and water.

2. Natural and human-induced disasters

Natural or human-induced disasters, such as floods or terrorist activity, can contaminate land. It can also cause more problems at already contaminated sites.

3. Abandoned and inactive land mines

Abandoned and inactive mines can lack the proper clean-ups needed to ensure safety. Sites that have these mines may also have exploration holes, waste dumps, pits, and mine openings. As a result, the whole area is unsafe.

4. Underground storage tank failures

Underground storage tanks can fail due to faulty installation, operating procedures or maintenance systems. For example, a community gas station stores petroleum and hazardous substances in large underground storage tanks. When these tanks fail, it causes extensive land and groundwater contamination, posing a significant risk to the surrounding properties.

The consequences

Contaminated land poses hazards to the environment and our health.

Some sites might have lower levels of contamination, and therefore pose a lower threat. However, other sites may have high levels. In this case, the chemicals persist in the environment and expose themselves to living organisms.

Contaminated land needs proper management. Improper management leads to the exposure of humans to harm through the consumption, skin contact, or inhalation of contaminants.

How can I avoid land contamination?

You can avoid land contamination by controlling the release of hazardous wastes and chemicals into the environment. If land contaminants are suspected at any phase in a project, the cause should be identified and corrected to avoid ongoing risk.

Contaminated lands should also be managed effectively to prevent further risk. This management involves land clean-up to reduce the level of contaminants at the site.

If the contamination poses an immediate threat to humans and the environment, you should implement a risk-reduction strategy as soon as possible to eliminate the hazard.

How can I identify it?

Environmental consulting services, such as Envirofree, offer land contamination assessments. These assessments ensure that a site is not in danger of contamination.

For instance, a consulting service can perform remediation. In this process, experts revert contaminated land back to its original, pre-human chemical composition. This assessment ensures that your site poses the least risk to humans and other organisms.

Summary

Land contamination is the result of several reasons. Storage failures, chemical spills, or natural disasters can all contribute to the problem.

A site project needs proper management to lower the risks associated with contamination. It’s not just a matter of business – the entire ecosystem depends on it too.