Otherwise known as P, ice, or crystal – methamphetamine (meth) is an illegal Class A drug.
When produced (or “cooked”) or consumed in a home, it can leave lasting residue, both visible and invisible, that can cause a number of health issues.
Unfortunately the use of meth and its manufacture is widespread and a growing problem throughout New Zealand. AMI’s parent company IAG has seen an increasing number in meth contamination claims, and it is especially important to be aware of the issues surrounding meth contamination if you are a landlord or looking to purchase a new home. We’re highlighting a few key points to be aware of, along with where to find more information.
Contaminants from the production or consumption of meth can be absorbed into building materials, fixtures, fittings and household items. The recently announced standard limit for methamphetamine contamination, sampling and testing sits at 1.5 micrograms per 100sq cm. For crawl spaces, it’s 3.8 micrograms. This is a change from the previous limit– mostly due to a better understanding of the health risks that contamination may present.
It may not be a surprise that rental homes are more susceptible to meth contamination, due to the sometimes higher turnover of residents (rather than, say, a family home). While it may seem like the number of meth claims are few compared to others like weather and damage, that number is growing, and can cost an average of $20,000+.
How do I go about testing?
If you believe your home or rental property has been contaminated, it’s important to get it tested before taking any next steps. Always employ a reputable company who have been operating for a while. Comprehensive testing is required to establish if the level of contamination is above the safe level.
If an unsafe level of contamination is found, it’s recommended you contact the police, as well as your local council. Your insurer should be your next point of contact, who will advise you on next steps.
Some of AMI’s policies have recently been updated to include cover for meth contamination caused by consumption that exceeds currently recognised standards. This joins the pre-existing cover of contamination by manufacture of meth.
If you’re a landlord, you must follow your obligations set out under the Residential Tenancies Act 1986. You’ll also have obligations to follow from your insurance company, which must be complied order for any potential claim to be considered. Meeting these obligations and managing a rental property well are the best ways to protect yourself and your property from contamination risk.
To find out more, see ami.co.nz/meth, where you can download our e-booklet, or check out this video: