Clandestine Drug Laboratories (Meth Labs) Testing

About 1000 illegal drug labs are identified by Australian Police within Australia each year with undoubtedly many more remaining undetected. The majority of these clandestine labs are discovered in residential buildings.

It has been widely recognised that the residual contamination from toxic gases and aerosols produced by illicit drug manufacture presents a serious risk of harm to human and environmental health. These contaminants can be absorbed by floorings, walls, drains and ducting as well as furnishings or fixtures and pose a risk to persons occupying the premises, potentially for many years into the future. Studies have also established that smoking methyl amphetamine will likewise contaminate the inside surfaces of buildings with methyl amphetamine.

Are you considering buying a home that may have been contaminated by drug manufacture or use? Are you a property owner or real estate agent with rental properties that may have been contaminated by drug manufacture or use? (Property owners have a responsibility to ensure their property is safe for future occupants).

Drug labs can be small and large and include many chemicals

On site preliminary testing can be effective in developing action plans

Or have you received a clean-up notice from a regulatory authority following identification of a drug lab in a property you own? (If an illegal clandestine drug laboratory is identified at your property, regulatory authorities may issue a legally binding clean-up notice to ensure that the property is safe to re-occupy).

Envirohealth Consulting has personnel who can assist you with all facets of sampling and remediation of clandestine drug laboratories to ensure the property is safe. Personnel are trained to assess the property and develop a thorough understanding of what has occurred on the site and determine an appropriate course of action including the design of appropriate testing and remediation protocols.

Illegal drug manufacture is frequently conducted by operators with minimal knowledge or technical skills which results in poor chemical handling practices and the use of improvised or unsuitable equipment which can result in vessel failures, spillages and escapes of reaction materials. The residual contaminants from drug manufacture can be in the form of solids, liquids or vapours and can be absorbed by floorings, walls, drains, ducting and any furnishings or fixtures in the vicinity of the clandestine lab. Additionally there are significant quantities of waste produced from the drug manufacture process and the manner of disposal for this contaminated waste product also represents a risk to environmental and human health. The residual chemical contaminants produced during the drug manufacture process are of a hazardous nature and may include heavy metals, carcinogens and phytotoxic substances. Symptoms of exposure can include throat irritation, respiratory difficulties, headaches, skin conditions and mental health problems where most exposed people will suffer at least minor behavioural, psychological or physiological health effects. It is important to note that adverse health effects are mainly related to long term rather than short term exposures.

If you own a property and have suspicions that illegal drug manufacture is occurring within your property the following items may indicate illicit activities.

  • Improvised heating and cooling mechanisms
  • Used materials surrounding a property (cold and flu packets, empty pseudoephedrine blister strips, gas cylinders or butane fuel cans, stained coffee filters, pH testers or test strips, water pumps, plastic containers)
  • An unusual chemical smell
  • Windows blackened out or extra effort to ensure windows and doors are covered or reinforced
  • Evidence of unusual electrical work surrounding the premises
  • Noticeable hoses and pipes near windows or doors
  • Installation of extractor fans (especially in garages/sheds)
  • Recently rented premises where residents are rarely there
  • A new tenant willing to pay rent months in advance, using only cash
  • New rental applicants who try to avoid background checks

Envirohealth Consulting have trained technicians in the assessment and coordination of remediation for sites contaminated with illicit drugs according to protocols outlined in the guideline established by the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) to ensure the premises are adequately decontaminated and safe to re-occupy. The investigation processes are based on existing nationally accepted National Environment Protection Council (NEPC) and National Environment Protection Measure (NEPM) guidelines and standards.

Envirohealth Consulting clandestine drug laboratory testing and analysis agents can conduct initial sampling to confirm contamination. All sampling is conducted according to Australian Standards with analysis conducted by National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) certified laboratories. If contamination is confirmed our personnel can:

  • Liaise with regulatory authorities if required
  • Confirm the extent of contamination
  • Assess remediation options
  • Develop a Remediation Action Plan (RAP)
  • Coordinate remediation with appropriately trained remediation contractors
  • Conduct clearance sampling following remediation and
  • Provide a site validation report that the property is safe to re-occupy.


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We are a private consulting company providing specialist asbestos and occupational hygiene technical and consulting services.

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