There is no evidence that third-hand exposure to methamphetamine smoking residue on household surfaces causes adverse health effects, a new report has found.
Minister of Housing and Urban Development Phil Twyford has this morning released the report produced by the Prime Minister's Chief Science Adviser Professor Sir Peter Gluckman.
The report was commissioned last December to assess scientific and medical literature about the risks of exposure to meth residue.
"I was concerned at the time, and I remain so, that there has been some anxiety about meth contamination, and a testing and remediation industry has grown up around this," Twyford said.
"There has been a widely held perception that the presence of even low levels of meth residue in a house poses a health risk to occupants. As a result, remediation to eliminate contamination has been an extremely costly business for landlords and an upheaval for tenants being evicted at short notice.
The report found that remediation according to the NZS 8510: 2017 standard is appropriate only for identified former meth labs and properties where heavy meth use has been determined.
"No one is underplaying the social damage caused by meth, but there should be a scientific basis for what are acceptable levels of meth in the current New Zealand context; and remediation of houses should be proportional to the established health risks," said Twyford.
"The report is a comprehensive, up-to-date and plain English understanding about the risks of meth exposure for people living in houses where meth was manufactured, and for those in which meth was smoked."
The findings will contribute to regulations that may be made under the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill (No 2) which will be having its second reading in Parliament soon.
Twyford said pending Cabinet agreement, a public consultation document on meth regulations will be released later this year.