Half of tested properties contain traces of meth

One in two homes tested for meth in Queensland come back with a positive reading.

MORE than half of all Queensland homes tested for methamphetamine residue have come back with positive results, and some of the suburbs are where you would least expect it.

From Chapel Hill and Chermside, to Woolloongabba, East Brisbane, Maroochydore and Upper Mount Gravatt, houses in these suburbs, and many more, tested positive to a presence of residue of methamphetamine when tested by Meth Screen between January 1 2018 and March 31 2019.

Meth Screen tested 179 Queensland homes last year, with 97 of those returning a positive result for methamphetamine residue.

Of the 56 properties tested by Meth Screen in the first quarter of 2019, 28 came back positive, and 27 were above the acceptable level of 0.5ug (micrograms per 10sq cm).

Some of the highest readings of 2018 were up to 1600 times the acceptable level, with sky high readings at Jimboomba (800ug), Chermside (780ug), Southport (300ug), Chapel Hill (310ug) and Redland Bay (102ug), among many others.

Meth Screen test for traces of methamphetamine. PICTURE: MATT THOMPSON

Meth Screen managing director Ryan Matthews said no suburb was immune, with some of the most unsuspecting of houses testing as contaminated.

“We’ve seen levels in beautiful homes that you would never suspect,” Mr Matthews said.

“Some people in more affluent suburbs have got more money.

“You can’t rule it out based on demographic — it doesn’t discriminate.”

Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows death rates from methamphetamine quadrupled from 1999 to 2016, from 0.4 per 100,000 to 1.6 deaths respectively.

Last month, News Corp reported a Gold Coast family unknowingly lived in a house with dangerous levels of methamphetamine and not only had to throw out most of their belongings, they experienced health issues as a result of the residue.

While Mr Matthews said it was difficult to know exactly how many Australian houses could have a presence of methamphetamine as there had been no long term testing, by comparing it to data from New Zealand and the United States with the rate of methamphetamine usage in Australia, it could conservatively be estimated that 8-10 per cent of properties in Australia would test positive to a presence of methamphetamine.

However, he stressed this did not mean the property was contaminated.

Buying a house without testing for methamphetamine is like buying a lotto ticket and hoping for the best.

Mr Matthews urged prospective home buyers to test a house for methamphetamine residue in the same manner one would get a building and pest inspection before purchasing, and for investors between tenants.

Testing starts from $198, but Mr Matthews warned those who choose to forgo screening risked thousands in clean-up bills, let alone the health risks contamination could cause.

“Most of the time there is absolutely no evidence (of methamphetamine contaminants) except for maybe neighbours talking about it,” he said.

“How are you going to know if it’s contaminated if you don’t test it?

“The levels could be really low or they could be staggeringly high, but if you don’t know, as soon as you purchase it and you then find out its contaminated, there could be a $30,000 to $40,000 problem.”

See full article here: https://www.realestate.com.au/news/half-of-tested-properties-contain-traces-of-meth/

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