Rotorua Daily Post health and business reporter

New meth house guidelines welcomed

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A methamphetamine house cleanup. PHOTO/FILE
A methamphetamine house cleanup. PHOTO/FILE

New guidelines indicate houses where P has been smoked could be less dangerous than first thought - something a local real estate agent hopes will alleviate the "fear factor" around meth houses.

The Ministry of Health this week released a report which provides key recommendations for the country's first national standard for methamphetamine (P) contamination.

For houses where meth has been smoked but not made, it recommends increasing the level of meth needed to warrant a clean-up by up to four times the previous guidelines.

And Rotorua real estate agents hope the new regulations will provide more certainty around contamination levels.

While the level remains at 0.5 micrograms per 100sq cm or higher where meth has been manufactured, it has been increased to 1.5 micrograms in houses where it has been used, and 2 micrograms where meth has only been used and there isn't any carpet.

The different levels reflect the level of health risk from living in a house where someone smoked meth and living in a house used to manufacture the drug.

Professionals McDowell Real Estate Rotorua principal Steve Lovegrove said meth contamination was something people feared and a lot didn't understand.

He said the more government involvement there was in terms of recommendations and levels, the more they could alleviate the "fear factor".

"Everyone is trying to find their way around this minefield."

He said the recommendations would mean different things to different people - and while some might be happy to follow the increased levels others would only accept a zero reading.

Rotorua Rentals director Richard Evans said he anticipated the limits might have gone even higher.

"At least it is a more realistic figure."

He said landlords also needed more powers to be able to ensure people moved out almost immediately if a property had a high reading.

First National Real Estate chief executive Bob Brereton, who was in Rotorua today, said the new figures represented "quite a radical shift".

He said anecdotally more than half of positive tests fell under the 2 microgram level.

Mr Brereton said the ministry's figures coming out ahead of the national standard were "quite a surprise" but they would hopefully give a little bit more certainty around the levels.

THE NEW RECOMMENDATIONS:
- Developed by ESR for Ministry of Health.
- 0.5 per 100sq cm level to remain for homes used as meth labs.
- Threshold increased to 1.5 per 100sq cm in houses where meth smoked which have carpet
- Threshold increased to 2 per 100sq cm in houses where meth smoked but no carpet

- Rotorua Daily Post

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