Test or Not to Test?

posted 16 Jun 2016, 22:34 by Ann-louise INSCIENCE Ltd   [ updated 16 Jun 2016, 22:36 ]

There is much debate currently on when to test, whether to test and why to test among many other things to ponder regards the call for Testing for Methamphetamine Contamination in Properties and there are as many opinions as there are terrible stories of the chaos caused in people’s lives when their assets and health are potentially put at risk.

Until such time as there is anything published to challenge the MOH Guidelines and its recommendation that Methamphetamine found on a surface in a property above 0.5 µg/100cm2 poses a potential indication of Methamphetamine manufacture and risk to health means in my opinion that there is reasonable cause for real estate buyers to test properties routinely pre-purchase as suggested by Harcourts CEO in this article. I agree that the level of 0.5 µg/100cm2 was most likely chosen for use in those guidelines as an achievable detection limit however many countries and various States in USA have detailed in their guidelines unacceptable levels of Methamphetamine contamination as between 0.1 and 1.5 µg/100cm2. To date I can find no peer reviewed nor scientific publications that have studied or made findings as to the safe levels of methamphetamine contamination despite the comments from Dr Nick Kim on recent Fair go Programme and in subsequent written media articles quoting him. I for one would not recommend it as safe for any child or adult to live within a property with levels of contamination above 10 µg/100cm2 . I would also however not like to live with nicotine on the walls and ceilings at such levels either not that those levels are considered uninhabitable in any published MOH Guidelines.


Methamphetamine residues not the big health worry people fear: scientist Nick Kim

Just under 1 per cent of the adult population were thought to be meth users, which equated to about 10,000 to 16,000 ...

Just under 1 per cent of the adult population were thought to be meth users, which equated to about 10,000 to 16,000 households.

Tenants and home buyers need not necessarily fear traces of residual methamphetamine in a property, a New Zealand scientist has claimed.

Dr Nick Kim, a senior lecturer in environmental chemistry at Massey University, tested the residue left on walls by meth smokers and found the potential health effects of past P smoking was no worse than those of tobacco, or handling meth-contaminated bank notes.

In fact, contamination was a phrase he used carefully because it had been used loosely, he said. The accepted New Zealand benchmark for remediation, 0.5 micrograms per 100 square centimetres, was based on levels in a meth lab, not on houses where smoking had occurred.

Even that level was 24 times lower than "the lowest level that could you could plausibly have a health risk".

Kim said the damaging effects of exposure to a meth lab was largely from the solvents involved in making it.

Households where meth was still being smoked or worse, manufactured, were obviously a risk to health, but once it stopped, the residues would break down over a matter of months.

Tenants who found that their houses had been smoked in could wash down walls and curtains but Kim said he personally would not worry.

There was no need to tear down gib or replace carpets and insulation unless there was strong suspicion that there was a lab and the chances were lower than people feared.

Just under 1 per cent of the adult population were thought to be meth users, which equated to about 10,000 to 16,000 households.

Kim said he peer reviewed the testing guidelines six years ago when concern was just emerging over the explosion of P labs and councils wanted guidance on testing.

"Somehow it's slipped sideways whereas it's now being used to test for cases where there's no clear evidence of a laboratory and I'd actually turn it the other way around and say, unless you have reason to suspect, why would you worry?

"What seems wrong is the idea of kicking people out of houses where residues are not too dissimilar to [tobacco] smoking residues on walls."

Kim's comments followed the country's biggest meth bust in Northland on Sunday and a call from Harcourts chief executive Chris Kennedy for mandatory meth testing of houses when they went up for sale.

Kennedy also felt there should be greater standardisation of testing.

But landlord group the Property Investors Federation said Kim's research indicated that level of compulsion was not necessary.

"The NZPIF's view on P was that we didn't want to do anything that would harm the health of tenants, but we wanted any action taken on meth to be done so on an informed and scientific basis," the federation's executive director Andrew King said.

He felt the Government needed to step in to allay people's fears.

"This is really good news as the cost of testing for and cleaning up meth for what we now know is at necessary levels was costing many millions of dollars and was set to go much higher."


 - Stuff

Cannabis vs Alcohol Dependence- Social and Economic Costs by Jim Wigmore

posted 9 Jun 2016, 17:40 by Ann-louise INSCIENCE Ltd   [ updated 9 Jun 2016, 17:43 ]

Risk of Dependency

One of the touted potential benefits of the decriminalization of marijuana is that cannabis dependence is less harmful than alcohol dependence.  Granted the percentage of persons using cannabis who become dependent is only about 9%, compared to approximately 15% who become dependent on alcohol.  But do cannabis-dependent persons have less social and economic problems than those who are alcohol-dependent? 

Only 45% of American adolescents rate cannabis as risky

Dunedin Study

 A long-term longitudinal study on the health and behavior of 1,037 consecutive births between 1972 and 1973 has been ongoing in the city of Dunedin in New Zealand.  This report is based on 947 participants (94% of the 1,007 study members who are still alive), and who have completed at least 3 out of 5 adult cannabis assessments from ages 18 to 38 years.  The following graph shows the change in social class (top) with participants who never used cannabis; used but had no diagnosis of cannabis dependence; and with 1, 2 and 3+ diagnosis of cannabis dependence.   With increasing cannabis dependence there was increasing decline in social class from childhood to age 38 years.

The bottom graph shows a similar increase in financial difficulties at age 38 years with increasing cannabis dependency.   



The authors concluded that:

Cannabis dependence was more strongly linked to financial difficulties than was alcohol dependence; it was not associated with less downward mobility, antisocial behavior in the workplace and relationship conflict than was alcohol dependence.  This finding stands in contrast to the popular and expert opinion which states that heavy alcohol use imposes more economic and social costs than does heavy cannabis use.



Cerdal, M., Moffitt, T.E., Meier, M.H., Harrington, H., Houts, R., Ramrakha, S., Hogan, S., Poulton, R., and Caspi, A., "Persistent Cannabis Dependence and Alcohol Dependence Represent Risks for Midlife Economic and Social Problems:  A Longitudinal Cohort Study",  Clinical Psychological Science, 1-19, 2016

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