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.
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.
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.
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.
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.