The Hidden Meth Scourge Infesting Suburban Aussie Homes
Our health and home could be affected by the nation's growing meth problem, and we may not even know it.
Drug tests on homes have revealed frightening rates of meth contamination inside suburban Australian properties, which were once meth dens.
But these nasty chemicals are leaving those now living inside with serious health problems and big cleaning bills.
Alarmingly, more than half of the 500 properties tested in New South Wales in just the last month, returned a 'positive' reading for the illicit residue.
And that's just the national average.
In Queensland half of homes also returned a positive reading, while in Western Australia, South Australia and Victoria homes returned a 70 percent strike rate.
But tests in Tasmania ranked the worst, with a whopping 93 percent of homes tested returning a positive reading.
Dr Jackie Wright from the College of Science and Engineering at Flinders University said people exposed to this residue can experience persistent coughs, headaches, skin rashes and eye irritation.
"We also see, particularly in children behavioural changes... so becoming quite inattentive, really vague or in some cases children become more aggressive," Wright told 10 News First.
They just look like a normal house and you would never know.
According to Meth Screen, who offer screening services to establish the safety of properties before new tenants move in, NSW is also home to one of the nation's most contaminated property.
Tests done at a house in Lemon Tree Passage in the state's Hunter Region returned a reading 1000 times above what is deemed safe by Australian standards -- 0.5 micrograms.
"Having a property that might be 1000 times higher than the guideline has most likely occurred as a result of former manufacture," Wright said.
And it's not just the cooks leaving dangerous traces, experts believe regular meth-users are just as bad. Meth Screen estimates that around 20 percent of contamination problems are linked to labs while 80 percent is linked to meth users.
Experts are now calling for mandatory screenings of homes much like routine electricity tests and building inspections.
But they're warning it's not just homeowner's health that is at stake, but their money too, with decontamination measures ranging from a big clean-up to demolition jobs, which could cost thousands.
Ryan Matthews from Meth Screen said their role was to protect the community and make them aware of these properties.
"We're trying to protect the various stakeholders that could be at risk of coming across these properties, whether it's buying, selling or renting," Matthews told 10 News First.
Featured Image: 10 News First