In spite of comments made in the media, usage of Crystal Methamphetamine and the relative ease of manufacture of  ‘meth’ the presence or absence of contamination from its use or manufacture becomes a concern for property owners and insurers.

It remains important  for potential buyers to assure themselves that no trace of methamphetamine usage is in a property they own or plan to buy. Landlords are especially vulnerable as tenants are more likely to manufacture or use Methamphetamine and either will leave indelible traces.

The Residential Tenancies Act Amendment No 2 also introduces some new and onerous responsibilities for landlords in that they will become liable for exposing tenants to 'contamination'.  Further It also inserts a new provision providing for premises that are proven by prescribed testing methods to be contaminated, to be treated as uninhabitable in line with current law (Part 2, clause 29A inserting new section 59(5)).

This really means that all premises should be tested between tenants so that Landlords do not become liable in law for exposing tenants to potential harm - however that may be defined.


Nevertheless ...


"There's a big difference between living in a house where someone smoked methamphetamine, and living in a house that was used to manufacture the drug." National Poisons Centre toxicologist Dr Leo Schep says.  "People living in a laboratory environment risk suffering adverse cardiovascular, respiratory and dermal effects following the exposure to organic solvents, acids, alkalis and other chemicals. However, people dwelling in a house where previous tenants had smoked methamphetamine, and there is some evidence of low concentrations on surfaces, have minimal risks of toxicity."

"The risks would be similar for people who live in a house that had previous dwellers who smoked cigarettes or marijuana. They will have exposure to these drugs but the concentrations will not be sufficiently high enough to cause either psychoactive or toxic effects to people who may have had inadvertent, and brief, dermal contact with these surfaces."

However properties that have been the location of a meth lab will leave significant and potentially harmful contamination and that left by heavy users can cause irritation, eye conditions and respiratory discomfort.

A low level test result  doesn't mean you will have to undertake extensive repairs or involve commercial cleaners. Quorum tests will give you screening information regarding levels that are manageable with little more than a rigorous wash down of surfaces with soap and water plus carpet cleaning.  However if our tests show contamination well above the 1.5µg/100cm2 level then we can advise what to do. Most houses we test come below this level so a good cleaning may reduce any short or long term risk. 

However, there is no guarantee of how a person will be effected as any of us can have an allergy triggered by the most minute of substances.


Research shows that frequently people are unaware of the causes of their general feelings of malaise and we hear the term 'a sick house'. Often respiratory discomfort is thought to be cause by dampness, mould or other factors. Methamphetamine traces are often the last things people expect.

Quorum Health and Scientific works closely with Christchurch's leading property inspection company, Christchurch Property Inspections to bring you the most comprehensive service. Contact them below.


QUORUM HEALTH has recently updated laboratory services and we can now offer detailed assay of methamphetamine levels where preliminary tests show the presence of methamphetamine.

Study finds 28 percent of middle-aged kiwis have tried meth


For the comfort of your family or your tenants a quick and simple test done between tenants or before you conclude a purchase will give you the comfort of knowing your house is clear of such contamination. 


On a practical level as well, housing with serious contamination with meth will be worth less and may require extensive decontamination. Even after such decontamination there may still be doubts in the mind of a buyer about the possible long term effects of meth use however hard you have worked to remove the traces.

Quorum Health takes a health focused approach to the use of meth and its staff are experienced health professionals who are able to candidly discuss the health risks associated with contamination. Reassurance and peace of mind are not far away.

Contact Quorum Health for advice or to book your test today

027 220 1424.



Quorum Health and Scientific 
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