Home Owners and Buyers Association president John Gray told Leighton Smith of NewstalkZB: "That gives me cause for concern for the health and wellbeing for those vulnerable people in our community who might be put back into these Housing New Zealand homes." From Wednesday, 30 May 2018, 11:26AM. Click to listen to the audio.
Meth an Increasing Problem in New Zealand
Click to watch TVNZ's report on Meth Use in New Zealand from Friday 10th of February 2017
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If you work in an environment that has toxic chemicals in it, you take the necessary precautions to prevent contamination. That being said, if you had to work in an environment and you were NOT aware that it had been used to house/use toxic chemicals you will probably not take ANY precautions.
So, you begin the house buying process, or you are looking at a rental property. At first glance, the property is clean, tidy and well kept. But it’s not the first glance you should be concerned about.
The toxic chemicals used by the cooks in the manufacturing process of meth vary from drain cleaners to ammonia to paint thinners to batteries to gas from camp stove canisters and many more.
Those chemicals may have permeated the surfaces of your potential new home. It may well be a toxic environment. Living in a home that has been a meth lab can cause health problems.
Exposure through inhalation or ingestion of these chemicals over a period of time can result chronic toxicity. This is where the level of toxicity in the body exceeds the bodies ability to deal with the toxics. Those people who willingly work in a toxic environment wear hazardous materials equipment, the HAZMAT suit, breathing apparatus, gloves, etc. They are taking the necessary precautions because they are AWARE of the toxicity in the environment that they choose to be in.
EXPOSURE IN YOUR HOME
When you buy or rent your new home, you are most definitely not choosing to live in a toxic environment. It’s not something you would expect and you most certainly would not wear a full hazardous materials suit to live in your own home.
Long term exposure, the long term inhalation and ingestion of these toxic chemicals is a risk that the meth cooks take when they are making P. But those of you who choose to live in a home that has been used in the manufacture of methamphetamine are at risk long after the meth lab has been found by police or shut down by those who run it and moved to another address.
Your children at most at risk. Those who reside in a house that has been used to make P face an increased risk of chronic toxicity and the health effects that prolonged exposure to the chemicals used to make meth.
This document states “Exposure to methamphetamine residues may cause symptoms similar to those experienced by methamphetamine users.” (Section 9.2)
Clearly not the same as ingesting or inhaling a “fresh” quantity of the drug itself, but over long term chromic exposure, the symptoms can build. To see graphic evidence of these symptoms, check out the “Meth Effects” page (Warning some images are shocking in nature) This document defines Chronic Exposure. “Chronic exposure occurs over an extended period of time, such as months or years. A chronic health effect is one that usually appears after a lengthy period of time, possibly years. Not much is known about the chronic health effects from clan meth labs. However, there is scientific evidence from animal and human toxicity studies that shows the chemicals used in the manufacture of methamphetamine can cause a range of health effects. These include cancer, damage to the brain, liver and kidneys, birth defects and reproductive problems, such as miscarriages.” It then goes onto the explain “Exposures to clan meth lab chemicals or by‑products over a long period of time (chronic exposures) may cause both long-term and short-term health effects. Long-term exposures to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) may result in liver and kidney damage, neurological problems, and increased risk of cancer. Benzene is a VOC known to cause cancer. Even at low levels, exposures for long periods by people living in a former clan meth lab site could result in serious health effects.”
A VICTIM OF METH EXPOSURE
It must be noted that whilst there have been no long term studies on the exposure to meth lab chemicals, there is strong evidence that suggests they pose a serious health risk.
An article published in the New Zealand Herald on Sunday, 11th November 2007 titled “P lab makes neighbours sick” only serves to enforce the Ministry of Health message.
In this instance, the victim was not residing in a meth house, but next to one.
The article states “ …medical records show that from last year she complained about migraine headaches, dilated pupils, vision impairment, loss of balance, collapsing, shaking, eye seizures, heart palpitations and fatigue.”
It goes onto say that when she saw medical professionals they even went as far as asking whether she was on drugs, which later blood tests confirmed she was not.
In the article, the meth victim states "I started complaining of being sick within two months of living at the Newcastle Rd house…Every second week, a new symptom would occur. At the beginning I suffered from absence of time, where I'd black out but my eyes would be open and I'd still function…Then I started getting blurred vision and walked into objects and people. In the end, I had migraines every day." She goes onto say that the family washing smelt tainted from the chemicals that emanated from the meth house. "The washing on our line always had a strange, chemical smell. Mum would have to rewash the clothes." Let’s be clear, this lady was not actually residing INSIDE a meth house, she was living next door to one and yet the toxic exposure she suffered resulted in chronic toxicity.
The article seeks advice from Dr Wayne Temple, director of the National Poisons Centre. He states “a number of harmful solvents are used to make methamphetamine…There are a lot of solvent emissions and acid mists because it's not like a lab situation where they have fume hoods...The cooks are venting chemicals outside the house, so if washing is nearby it could be covered in those things.”
Dr Temple goes on to quote an American study stating “It (Amphetamine) was found on the carpet and walls, people got it on their clothes, and it was tracked outside. A teddy bear with a jersey was put beside one of the cooks, and the jersey ended up with an extraordinarily large amount of amphetamine on it…There have been instances where cooks have been found dead at the scene…That's why the police and forensic people go in suited up. It looks like overkill, but they don't know what they're going to find."
The meth user vaporizes the p crystals by heating them. This creates a vapour that behaves like smoke. Just like you can “smell” a smokers clothing and house, the meth clings to surfaces and, upon cooling, can again form into crystals.
These crystals contaminate the surface they are on. These surfaces that you and your family, your children and crawling babies, then touch and spread the contamination through your skin, eyes, nose, mouth and so on.
The lady in the article mentioned above was living next to a p lab and inhaled the vapours in what is known as second hand meth smoking, much like second hand tobacco smoking.
As a meth contaminated house warms through heating, these crystals can produce methamphetamine vapour. This is known as third hand meth smoking and can deliver the meth to your lungs.
SECOND HAND P SMOKING
Regardless of whether it is second or third hand meth smoking, repeated exposure can lead to the reported symptoms of similar nature to that of the first hand meth addict. Loss of appetite, an inability to focus and concentrate, anxiety, breathing difficulties, balance issues, sinus problems, headaches and many more different symptoms that manifest themselves.
The differing symptoms can be the result of “where” the victims are health wise, that is, if a healthy sport orientated adult was exposed they may have less symptoms that someone who is immune system compromised, such as a person with a chronic illness.
At MethXpertNZ we have you and your families health first and foremost in our minds.
We are proud to say that our testing process is robust and withstands the intense scrutiny that police legal proceedings require.
With cabinet report showing that the drug has become easier to obtain in the past year and with seizures of “Pure” (which is what “P” stands for) at a record high, Meth is fast approaching epidemic use, if it is not already there.
The consequences of inaction far outweigh that of action. Can you afford to leave you and your families health to chance? Call us now for Xpert advice by Government Accredited Meth Xpert.