This article published in The Age and written by Giselle Wakatama certainly gives us a view of a hidden danger we are most likely to miss when doing due diligence to purchase a property. Who would think to test our new property for the presence of ice – and no I do not mean the cold white stuff used in my drink.
I mean the other white stuff!! Otherwise known as methamphetamine or meth. Giselle quotes Mr Marsden as saying “We find them (i.e. laboratories) in million-dollar properties, we find them in sheds, we find them in the back of cars, we find them in caravans and camper vans.”
Or read the article below:
Meth lab clean-ups on the rise, amid worsening ice scourge
1233 ABC Newcastle By Giselle Wakatama
Posted 1 Dec 2016, 5:21am
A Newcastle forensic cleaner says meth lab clean ups are on the rise, amid a worsening ice scourge
There is more evidence of a worsening ice scourge, with a Newcastle biohazard cleaning service saying it now gets daily clean-up and testing requests relating to meth lab activity.
Health and government officials have been concerned about a so-called ice scourge for several years.
It has kept biohazard forensic cleaners such as Newcastle’s Josh Marsden busy.
Mr Marsden told the ABC he got hundreds of calls a year to either test for meth lab activity or to clean up after they have been dismantled.
“We get them every day from people who have bought properties and then found out from the neighbours that there was a drug lab in that house or tenants who are moving into houses and are getting side effects,” he said.
Labs can pop up anywhere
Mr Marsden said most people thought of drug labs operating in undesirable or out-of-the-way places, but nothing could be further from the truth.
He said the labs could appear in residential or commercial buildings in cities or in more isolated areas.
“We find them in million-dollar properties, we find them in sheds, we find them in the back of cars, we find them in caravans and campervans,” he said.
Mr Marsden said hundreds if not thousands of Australian properties were previously used as drug labs.
As a result he is urging families to buy meth testing kits to analyse homes before buying or renting.
He predicted meth tests may soon accompany building and pest reports, amid a growing number of homes being identified as former drug labs.
“They always say we have done our property checks, we have done our pest and building inspection but they haven’t done a meth inspection,” he said.
“I think it is something we are going to see in the future … and New Zealand is already doing that.”
A Newcastle forensic cleaner is recommending people get meth lab testing kits before buying or renting properties.
Mr Marsden said many people were shocked to learn of their property’s shady past.
“Most of the people have no idea what a meth lab is or what they do until they start researching meth labs on the internet and find out how toxic they really are and then start finding out what steps are needed in remediating the property so it is safe to live in again,” he said.
Mr Marsden said families with children were the most anxious.
“By simply being in that atmosphere the young children are usually the ones who are exposed the most,” he said.
“Kids, with smaller bodies, are more susceptible as they fight and run across the carpets and roll on the carpets and rub against the walls.”
Real Estate Institute says mandatory meth testing a step too far
The Real Estate Institute’s Hunter chairman Wayne Stewart said any moves to enforce mandatory meth testing of properties would be onerous.
“The real estate industry is already policed for so many aspects of properties these days,” he said.
“With new asbestos reform coming in, we are already going to be police officers for the asbestos part of the business as well, but I think it is something that people in general just need to be cautious about.”
Mr Stewart said vigilance was the key.
“No house is off limits,” he said.
“We see almost on a daily basis that crime syndicates are using homes as disguises in outreach suburbs, and so you never know.
“Over the last 25 years we have dealt with a number of these that have caused grief for our vendors or future buyers.
“Drug use is a part of society these days so people do have to be cautious.”
Mr Stewart said meth labs were not the only issue some property owners were facing.
The new owners of one inner-city Newcastle home had to remove hundreds of syringes from wall cavities.
He said another rental burnt down and it was later revealed the house had been used to grow hydroponic cannabis.
In 2014, police across Australia raided nearly 750 meth labs.
Police from the New South Wales Drug Squad have previously told the ABC that labs were often found in rural areas, but they had also been discovered in motel rooms, shipping containers, boots of cars, and on the back of trucks.