New P testing standards desperately needed


The Ministry of Health has released its new recommendations for meth contamination clean-up and says the current standard is too high much of the time.

Since 2010, ministry guidelines have said a contamination reading of 0.5 micrograms per 100 square centimetres or higher meant a home needed to be decontaminated.

That standard has prompted a proliferation of private decontamination businesses and what some have called “paranoia” in the real estate market.

The new recommendations – developed by ESR – say that level should only apply homes that have been used as P labs – not ones where meth was only smoked.

It says the threshold should be four times higher – or 2.0 ug/100cm2 – at houses where P has been smoked but not made, as long as the carpets have been changed

At homes where the carpet hasn’t been removed, it should still be three times higher – at1.5ug/100cm2 – because of increased risk to kids who spend time on the floor.

The number of private and state homes that have been stripped and rebuilt for tests that were merely “positive” are astronomical.

“People living in a house where previous occupants had only smoked methamphetamine means potential exposure to low concentrations of the drug on surfaces with a much reduced risk of toxicity.”

The recommendations are similar to Californian standards, which are being adopted by other states.

The Ministry of Health says the proposed changes will be on its website and the recommendations can be used as a guide until official new standards are developed by Standards New Zealand next year.

To have a test that triggers on a P lab but not an occasional user of P is clearly a necessity. ?However, I can see the market offering a ‘comprehensive’ test that tells you exactly what level of contamination is present.

Private landlords have identified damage, especially from P, as their primary concern. ?Many landlords have left the market because of it.

Let’s hurry up and get this done.


– Newshub