Methamphetamine contamination has the potential to be present in residential and commercial buildings as a result of illicit manufacture and drug use, in particular smoking. The illicit manufacture of methamphetamine and the smoking of methamphetamine results in the generation and deposition of drug aerosols/residues on all surfaces, porous and non-porous. These drug residues can remain in the home for a long period of time and if they are not properly identified and cleaned this can result in unwitting exposures and adverse health effects by individuals and families who subsequently rent or purchase these properties. Research has been undertaken to better understand what levels of methamphetamine contamination remains in homes following manufacture or smoking, and what factors related to the manufacture and building design affect the spread of contamination throughout the property. Data on contamination levels, and property observations, has been obtained from 100 homes and apartments throughout Australia to assist in better understanding the level of methamphetamine contamination that may be present. This data has been reviewed to develop a risk matrix that can be used at the start of an investigation or property assessment to determine the level of risk a property may pose to the public. The level of risk then determines the level of further investigation and remediation work that may be required to ensure the property is safe for future occupants. The risk matrix can be used by property managers including managers of public housing authorities where a significant number of illicit drug laboratories are located.
Originality – This study provides data on the level and spread of methamphetamine contamination in former clandestine drug laboratories in Australia.