Home meth testing set to become the norm in WA

Mandurah councillors are concerned over drug testing trials for new  welfare recipients.
Mandurah councillors are concerned over drug testing trials for new welfare recipients.

WITH WA’s methamphetamine use double the national rate, home meth testing could become the new norm for landlords.

In August, wastewater testing revealed about two tonnes of the drug was consumed each year, giving it a street value of $2 billion.

Director of new Perth business Meth Tests Australia Peter Bryce said meth residue in homes could have significant health problems, especially for children.

A simple test, which resembles a pregnancy test, is able to pick up half of one part per million of the toxic substance on a household surface.

“Meth can build up on walls, definitely in kitchens which are where (users) are most likely to cook up,” he said.

“Adults living in the house will pick up negative effects slower than children will but then people have been known to go back to the work on a mine site, never smoked meth in their life, and test positive.”

Mr Bryce and his brother David test properties from Broome to Esperance for the addictive substance.

“We also test a lot of trucks in the trucking industry, which is always been bad for drugs,” he said.

“The sleeper cab drivers may use meth at night; and then another innocent truck driver in the same truck will be eating in there, sleeping in there, touching all the surfaces and then he gets picked up and tests positive for methamphetamine.

“Meth labs now are getting more and more mobile camper vans caravans are all getting tested.”

The cleanup for a former meth lab can cost up to $20,000 to $100,000 according to Mr Bryce.

“The clean up involves stripping out the gyprock ceiling and replacing the carpets, the furniture; it’s cheaper to throw away.

“I know some insurance companies like SGIO will not cover the landlord and most (meth labs are) occurring in rented housing and state housing.”

Scarborough resident Nick Medic decided to get his home tested by Mr Bryce as a clearance before it was put up for sale last week.

“Just for the sake of the peace of mind that everything is as it should be,” Mr Medic said.

“I guess I am relieved that there is no meth in the house, it is one of these things that you just never know; I wanted that certificate to be sure.”

Hailing from New Zealand, Mr Bryce said testing houses for meth was the norm in his home country.

“In New Zealand no one would buy a house before getting it meth tested,” he said.

“The banks are also asking for a test before they issue a mortgage; asking for a meth clearance certificate.

“The most popular group that we test is (New Zealanders), they come over here to buy or rent a house they want to know that it is meth free; they have grown up with it.”

Express Building inspections owner Nicolene Van Der Bank had recently used Meth Tests Australia to train staff to perform the tests.

“I think we chose to do it because it is an important test to do if you do decide to buy a property and it is an extra assurance for the client,” Mrs Van Der Bank said.

“With meth tests, they can’t hide the fact that it was a meth lab, it may look beautiful and renovated but you never know.”

The Stirling Times tested a bank note, which tested positive for traces of methamphetamine.

“One in 25 people use in WA, 4 per cent so they are going to touch it, they are going to touch your notes that’s just the way it is but that tiny amount will not effect your health,” Mr Bryce said.