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Experts Say Meth Standards Too Low in Rental Properties

Both the New Zealand Drug Foundation and Massey University environmental chemistry expert Nick Kim are speaking out, saying the current meth test standard is far too low and should be re-evaluated.

Latest Reports Show NZ Meth Standard Too Low

Under the current standard, a property is legally defined as contaminated when a meth test result is positive at 1.5 micrograms per 100 cm.

In his paper released in 2016, Nick Kim explains that the lowest level of daily exposure to meth that would have a remotely plausible health effect on infants would be 12 micrograms (that’s 8 times the current standard). Whats more, the current standard is 300 times lower than the minimum dose of amphetamine used to treat children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Meth usage in New Zealand is also on the decline, with the government’s latest Tackling Methamphetamine: Progress Report showing that 0.9% of adult Kiwis used meth in 2014-2015, down from 2.2 per cent in 2009 and in line with the global average of 0.7 per cent.

The NZ Drug Foundation’s president Ross Bell agrees with Nick Kim, saying the science doesn’t back up the need for such a booming meth contamination industry, who is simply playing on fears for profits. More concerning, he said is that the Government has fallen for these scare tactics and created new standards and an Act amendment, currently before a select committee, which will unjustifiably perpetuate this culture of fear.

What’s The Bigger Issue in Rental Properties – Mould or Meth?

When it comes down to it, which causes more medical issues? Which sends more people to the hospital? Which is likely to be found in kiwi homes? Even before the recent decline in Meth use, the answer has always been mould.

A report by Otago University last year shows 34% of low income households with children have mould and dampness issues. Chair of the NZ Medical Association Dr Kate Baddock says “We are always seeing children, and adults, who have health issues as a consequence of being cold and damp at home,” she says. “These are allergic diseases, as well as respiratory problems, and skin infections caused by damp clothes and damp bed sheets – all caused by people being miserably cold when they shouldn’t be.

So what’s Nick’s advice if you get a positive reading of Meth?

Sugar soap and elbow grease. Nick recommends any standard detergent will do, using two different detergents if you want to be sure, then get it re-tested – he says all those that came back to him said the second test came out fine.


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