NZS 8510:2017 is an Industry Standard produced in 2017 and released on the 29th June 2017. This Standard covers the Screening, Sampling, Testing, and Decontamination of properties that might have been contaminated as a result of use or manufacture of methamphetamine.
The standard was designed to provide guidance on methods of screening, sampling and testing of properties to assess the extent of methamphetamine contamination, ensuring that sampling is representative, that testing methods are reliable and repeatable results, within known limits, whether using qualitative or quantitive methods and there is a consistent approach to reporting test results. This document is considered best trade practice and has been independently reviewed by ESR Toxicologists, and enforced by the Ministry of Health.
OVERVIEW OF NZS8510:2017
This section we will aim to breakdown the "nuts and bolts" of the NZS8510:2017, this will give some guidance on whether or not sampling and reporting procedures have been executed in accordance with the New Zealand Standard. If industry best trade practice has been ignored, it may be argued in a Tenancy Tribunal the validity and independents of the results.
NZS 8501:2017 puts some very prescriptive requirements on methodologies and reporting requirements that have all been approved by standards New Zealand to ensure the objective of the Standard is met.
The objectives of the standard are to provide guidance on methodologies, procedures, and performance criteria aimed at ensuring the methods of testing properties provide reliable results, and the decontamination of contaminated properties is effective, reduces harm, and enables properties to be safely reoccupied.
The standard will contribute to the reduction of risks to the health and safety of occupants and others who may be exposed to methamphetamine contamination. Application of the standard will provide assurance that activities such as screening, sampling, testing, assessing, and decontamination of contaminated properties, and treatment or disposal of their contents, are carried out in accordance with good practice.
The standard put areas into one of two categories:
High Use Area An area in a property that can be easily accessed and is regularly used by adults and children. This also includes wardrobes and garages.
The safe level for a High Use Area is 1.5μg/100 cm2
The definition of an area is: Any area separated from another area by a door shall be considered a separate area.
Limited Use Area An area that is likely to be accessed only by adults and for short periods of time. This includes crawl spaces and wall cavities not used as duct runs that are unlikely to be renovated, and ceiling cavities. The safe level for a Limited Use Area is 3.8μg/100 cm2
A report by the Prime Minister’s Chief Scientist was recently released advising that there is no evidence that third hand exposure to meth contamination causes harm to health and that meth levels of up to 15mcg/100cm2 are safe. This is document has simply ignored international research available, and has not undergone an independent review process, in which all New Zealand Standards are subject to.
MBIE has advised that regulations regarding meth levels, testing and decontamination processes will be made later this year. Until the regulations are in force, or until the Tenancy Tribunal provides guidance as to whether they will adopt the 15mcg recommendation or continue to use 1.5mcg as the benchmark for determining whether a property is “unclean” or “uninhabitable”, landlords are advised to adopt a cautious approach and continue to use the NZ Standard level of 1.5mcg/100cm2 as the benchmark. Landlords and property managers may wish to continue to test for meth before and after tenancies if they are concerned as causation still needs to be established if contamination is found.
There are three recognised qualifications within NZS 8510:2017, sampling and reporting shall be conducted by a suitably qualified person recognised by this standard. It is widely publicised that there are some questionable companies within the methamphetamine industry, companies that produce results, claiming compliance with the NZ standard should be able to produce an IANZ Accreditation certification number. If an IANZ Accreditation certificate cannot be supplied, the sampling and reporting CANNOT meet the requirements of the standard. The validity and competency of the of the sampling and results should be questioned in a Tribunal.
The analogy we like to use at Meth Xpert NZ is;" just because you have watched the television program Suits, this does not make you a qualified Lawyer"!
Independent Inspection Body ISO/IEC 17020:2012 Perform Contamination Inspections, Gather Laboratory Samples and Report in accordance with NZS8510:2017 requirements. Screening Assessments Detailed Assessments Post Remediation Assessments (Property Clearance Testing)
Accredited Laboratory ISO 17025:2005 Companies accredited to this standard are able to: A) Analyse Samples B) Issue reports based on their findings C) Conduct Sampling if this was included as part of their accreditation.
Laboratories are not accredited to report to NZS8510:2017 requirements.
There is a public register of IANZ Accredited Companies, this can be found here at www.ianz.govt.nz/directory using the keyword methamphetamine.
COMPANIES NOT HOLDING RELEVANT QUALIFICATIONS CANNOT MEET THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE STANDARD. Tenancy Tribunal should not accept results from unqualified sampling companies.
NZQA Approved Sampling Course This is designed for Screening Assessments only, There are currently no NZQA Recognised sampling courses available in New Zealand.
The following methodologies are approved for the three different assessment categories:
Screening Assessment NIOSH Discreet Wipe Sample NIOSH Field composite NIOSH Laboratory Composite Other Approved Screening Devices
Detailed Assessment NIOSH Discreet Wipe
Post Remediation Assessment
NIOSH Discreet Wipe Sample NIOSH Laboratory Composite (By specific area only)
Methodologies employed must be noted in the report, variances in wipe collection techniques can have significant effects on the way results are interpreted. Results obtained from methodology employed outside the approved methods of collection, can have significant limitations, and cannot be directly compared with NZS8510:2017 for this reason the tribunal should not accept results outside approved methodologies.
NIOSH DISCREET WIPE
Definition: A discrete wipe sample shall be taken from a measured area, typically 100 cm2, using a technique as outlined in one of the appropriate NIOSH standard methods or a formally validated equivalent method. Interpretation of results: This represents the amount of methamphetamine recovered on a wipe, from a "discreet" 100cm2 area.
NIOSH FIELD COMPOSITE
Definition: Field compositing is the process of combining multiple (5) x wipes collected from separate 100cm2 locations, within a single room or designated space into one container. The field compositing technique is employed to maximise sampling coverage while reducing the laboratory analysis costs during the screening assessments Field compositing shall only be used in screening assessments. Interpretation of results: A field composite sample result represents a sum or accumulation of each of the individual discrete wipe samples. The result also represents the maximum level in any one of the wipes if all the contamination present was contained in one wipe.
NIOSH LABORATORY COMPOSITE
Definition: Laboratory compositing is the process of taking multiple discrete wipe samples, collected from separate locations in a property according to the procedures outlined in NIOSH 9111, and sending them to an IANZ accredited laboratory for compositing. The laboratory extracts even amounts from discrete wipe samples, then combines equal portions of the extracts together to form a new sample called a “laboratory composite”. A laboratory composite will report both the results of the analysis and the theoretical maximum concentration of the individual results. The theoretical maximum concentration shall be determined by multiplying the laboratory result by the number of discrete wipe samples that comprise the laboratory composite.
The laboratory compositing technique is employed for the following reasons: (a) To maximise sampling coverage while reducing the laboratory analysis costs during the preliminary sampling and assessment of the property; or (b) To obtain better overall average results for a room or defined area. NZS 8510:2017 requires methamphetamine potential maximum concentrations not to exceed levels 1.5μg/100 cm2 in a high use area, or 3.8μg/100 cm2 In a Low use area, for a property to be deemed safe and habitable in accordance with this standard. If the potential Maximum concentration exceeds 1.5/μg/100 cm2, The following options apply: (a) Individual analysis of the samples within the composite (Further investigation) (b) Further decontamination treatment applied, before retesting the area.
Interpretation of results: Below is an example of how a potential maximum is calculated within a laboratory composite sample: Laboratory composite 1 comprises three discrete wipe samples from bedroom 1, and the laboratory result for laboratory composite 1 is reported as an average of 1μg/sample. Therefore, to compare laboratory composite 1 to the decontamination levels in NZS 8510:2017, the laboratory result (1μg/sample) is multiplied by 3 (the number of discrete wipe samples) resulting in a concentration of 3μg/100 cm2, which is then compared to the decontamination levels (1.5 μg/100 cm2) for a high use area.
OTHER APPROVED SCREENING DEVICES
Other approved screening devices are only accepted by the tribunal if listed on a public register held by ESR: www.esr.cri.nz
PLEASE NOTE: There are currently no valid "other screening devices"
Does the sampling company hold current IANZ Accreditation 17020:2012 or 17025:2015 ?
Is the sampling technician certified by NZQA? (Currently Unavailable)
Has the following information been obtained from the property owner, manager, or occupier and reported accordingly ?
Have copies of any reports relevant to NZS 8510:2017 on previous assessment been included, or if nil, is acknowledged there are no previous reports available?
Is there an acknowledgment of the number and location of high-use areas and low-use areas in the property?
Does the property have a forced-air heating or cooling system and, if so, is there a description of where the intakes are located ?
Is the number and locations of exhaust fans from the property reported ?
Are any renovations reported, if not, has it been acknowledged this has been investigated ?
Has any extensive cleaning been reported or as a minimum an acknowledgment this has been considered as this may mask the presence of Methamphetamine ?
Was the occupier notified that testing was is to occur ?
Is the presence of other occupants or pets that may be present at the property noted within the report ?
Has an approved methodology in accordance with Table 1 page 8 (NZS8510:2017) been employed.
Has an approved wipe technique in accordance with one of the NIOSH Methodologies been recorded ? Ref A.2.1 (NZS8510:2017)
Have appropriate sample sites been selected that are likely to show elevated levels? In accordance with 126.96.36.199 NZS851:2017?
Do sample areas cover 100cm2 if not is the area recorded in accordance with 188.8.131.52 (NZS8510:2017) ?
Has a minimum of 1 sample been taken from each High Use Area ? (any area segregated by a door)
Has the material that was sampled been noted?
Has the sample date and identification been included in the report by way of photo?
Is a field Blank register available REF 184.108.40.206 (NZS8510:2017)
Are the following reporting requirements documented within the report ?
The date of the screening assessment;
The address or description of the property or asset;
The screening sampler who conducted the screening assessment, including their qualifications, a statement of any interest the screening sampler has in the property or asset, for example as the property owner, landlord, purchaser, tenant, vendor, or manager;
A description of the property layout that describes the sampling locations and the method used to collect samples;
The methodology employed to analyse the samples;
The limitations of the sampling and testing methodology employed, including but not limited to: areas not sampled and the rationale for this; and factors which may influence the outcome of the test result, such as prior cleaning or renovation of surfaces;
The results of the sampling, including photographs of screening tests, or copies of any laboratory analytical report (if relied upon);
A conclusion confirming the presence or absence of methamphetamine contamination at the property based on the requirements in 3.2.5 (NZS8510:2017).
If these questions haven’t been answered and all the boxes ticked then this is deemed not adequate to meet the requirements of NZS8510:2017. These can seriously effect the outcome of a Tenancy Tribunal should the report supplied be deemed inadequate.
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