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Drugs found lurking in kids bedroom walls making them sick

1 week ago 10

At first glance, this bedroom looks like any other kids room.

There’s cute soft toys on the bed and a pink rocking horse fit for an aspiring princess.

But researchers at Flinders University have revealed there’s actually a deadly secret hiding in the walls of the seemingly immaculate Victorian home, one that was making the children living there experience “quite significant health issues”.

Unbeknown to the family, the home had previously been used as a drug lab, resulting in the walls, furnishings and even the soft toys being covered in methamphetamine residue.

Australian guidelines state even small levels of the drug – 0.5 micrograms per 100 square centimetres of contaminated surfaces – can be harmful, according to the Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF).

Flinders researchers – Dr Jackie Wright, Associate Professor Stewart Walker and Dr Kirstin Ross – conducted tests that found meth particles stayed in homes years after it was manufactured, resulting in it transferring to surfaces and items.

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The results were published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, who studied the home and the items inside it, discovering methamphetamine contamination in houses is a public health concern.

“Our results demonstrate that methamphetamine has continued to mobilise after manufacture when the property was under new ownership for a period exceeding five years,” Dr Ross said in a blog published by Flinders University.

“This suggests that the methamphetamine is not breaking down or being removed and is constantly transferred from contaminated to non-contaminated objects.

“The house was suspected to be a premises used to cook methamphetamine, it was then sold, lived in for several years by the new owners and then left unattended.

“Although the time since the cooking had taken place was significant, the levels of contamination were extremely high in both household items that were part of the house when cooking was taking place, such as blinds, carpets, walls, and also in articles brought to the house post-cooking, including rugs, toys, beds.”

The research raises questions about whether or not it is safe for people to move into homes that were previously used as drug labs.

Dr Wright said more studies are needed but hopes regulations that ensure both inhalation and surface risks are adequately addressed are introduced in future.

“A lot of people living in these properties aren’t aware that there’s contamination present because you can’t see it,” she told Yahoo News.

“Those who manufactured drugs before new residents have moved in have often hidden what they’ve done.

“There’s no equipment left behind, there’s no drugs around, there’s nothing to indicate that property was used for that purpose.

“It looks like a normal house.”

The ADF states concerns have been raised about methamphetamine contamination of residential properties in Australia and overseas, but advice on how to remediate is “confusing and unclear”.

Properties where methamphetamine has been manufactured pose a health risk to people living in them, with the highest health risk amongst children, the organisation states.

It added there has been “considerable debate about the level of residue warranting remediation in properties where methamphetamine manufacture has occurred”.

Continue the conversation @RebekahScanlan | [email protected]

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