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P Labs & toxic shock poisoning

#1 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 01:12 PM

Who pays for the medical & other costs associated with innocent ones whom unwittingly rent or enter these properties?

P labs give home owners toxic shock

By Andrew Laxon
4:00 AM Saturday May 30, 2009


Home buyers and landlords have been warned to watch out for a growing number of properties contaminated by being used as P labs.

About 1300 labs have been found in the past 10 years, and decontamination specialists believe the total number could be 10 times higher.

Cooking methamphetamine produces toxic chemicals that can poison the air in a house for years.

Homes often have to be stripped of carpets, wallpaper and floor coverings to make them safe again.

Several Weekend Herald readers described the damage and the health and financial costs suffered from unwittingly buying a former meth lab.

One person affected bought a house in Auckland in February and moved in the next month.

"Over a period of two months I developed worsening sleeplessness to the extent that at the end I was getting only about three to four hours' sleep a night," said the man, who did not want to be named.

"My sinuses were also really bad.

"At some point near the beginning of April I mentioned to my colleague at work that I was having trouble shutting down at night. I felt wide awake."

His ears, nose and throat grew unbearably sore and an unnatural chemical smell took over the house, so he contacted a drug detection firm to test the house for P residue.

The test was positive and the full cost of decontamination was $3000 - comparatively low for cleaning up a former P lab.

The home-owner said he was almost relieved but still had to pay $1100 for two initial tests and $1000 for a certificate of habitation which proves the house is safe to live in. He also felt frustrated because he thought he had checked the house thoroughly.

"When I first bought the house I did the three typical things as part of purchasing a house - building inspection, valuation, LIM report. I guess now house buyers also need to test a house for P residue too."

Another reader said he lost more than $15,000, including lost rent, when police found his tenants building a P lab in the back shed. The next tenants were P users, who trashed the house, causing $40,000 of damage.

"Friends caught our tenants stealing from a local building site and nabbed them, only to be confronted with a knife. Fortunately our friend could defend himself and got the bugger."

Nick McLeay, a former head of the police P lab response team in Auckland and now director of the NZ Drug Detection Agency, said police were finding about 90 labs a year in the greater Auckland area alone.

Based on unofficial estimates that police discovered only about 10 per cent of the labs - which he thought could be right - there were probably thousands of contaminated properties.

Auckland Property Investors Association president Sue Tierney said none of her 800-plus members, who owned at least 5000 properties, had reported a problem with a P lab.

But the association was well aware of the risk and suggested precautions for landlords: Choose tenants carefully and get references.

Ask for rent in advance and get at least two weeks' bond.

Get the right insurance cover.

Inspect the house at least four times a year and don't accept requests not to go into certain rooms.


33 per cent of P-lab houses had children living in them.
3 out of 4 children were present during the cooking process.
40 per cent were found in drug busts.
22 per cent were discovered by the public.
33 per cent had weapons inside, including firearms and explosives.
Source: National Drug Intelligence Bureau

- NZ Herald

#2 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 01:15 PM

Toxic property shock at P houses
Last updated 05:00 09/02/2014

Blacked-out windows, a safe in the main bedroom and hideous interior decorating: another ‘P' house is for sale.

The three-bedroom home in the Auckland suburb of Glen Eden is priced at $375,000, which is beyond the reach of many first time buyers because of the amount of de-toxification work required after it was used to manufacture drugs. But for investors, it's a chance to cash in.

Bayleys real estate agent Joan Collins said methamphetamine contamination could actually be a selling point for people looking for a do-up or bargain.

She had been fielding two or three calls a day since listing the Glen Eden property last month. The advertisement is honest: "P house for sale."

"It has to be full disclosure," Collins said.

"In some cases you sell ‘as is where is'. You can't do open homes because it's a contaminated property."

Home-hunter Amy Batty ruled out the Glen Eden house when she spotted it.

"Most people looking for their first home do not expect to have much left over for renovations once they've bought, so the option of buying a P house with so much work to be done, at the prices they are selling for, is not a realistic one for many of us."

When Collins first visited the address, before knowing it was contaminated, she coughed for hours afterwards. A test for methamphetamine was positive.

Chemicals from the manufacture of methamphetamine can penetrate a house's building materials, leaving it dangerous to inhabitants.

People can suffer from diseases of the central nervous system, breathing difficulties, asthma and skin rashes.

Collins said whoever bought the Glen Eden house could either put it through a certified decontamination process or remove it and subdivide the 936m2 of land. Interested buyers would factor the associated costs of decontamination into their offer, she said.

Envirocheck Forensics, which tests and decontaminates P houses around New Zealand, found 10 properties testing positive for methamphetamine in just the past fortnight.

Envirocheck office manager Jasmine Pruden said half of the properties they tested come back positive for drug contamination.

The cost of purging a house of chemicals can range from $1200 to $95,000.

In the worst cases Envirocheck stripped the house to its shell.

P manufacturers were getting smarter, Pruden said. "They are realising most people look for signs in the kitchen and bathroom so they set up the lab in the bedroom or wash house. They are trying to outsmart us."

She said P-labs were a problem affecting all parts of New Zealand.

"Not only does it devalue the house but if you're letting the property it's against the law. There's the health threat, especially to children and the elderly."

The Christchurch District Court heard last week that children found at a P-lab had rashes and methamphetamine residue in their hair.

Their 32-year-old mother was jailed for permitting the house to be used for drug production and neglecting her children, aged 12 and 13 at the time.


P manufacturers use substances extracted from toxic household chemicals such as drain cleaner and battery acid.

Toxic chemicals such as sodium hydroxide, anhydrous ammonia and iodine are used.

Highly toxic residues from fumes permeate walls, carpet, wood and plaster in homes used as meth labs.

Health risks include burns, respiratory and neurological damage.

Specialist cleaning companies remove contaminated building materials and soils and do before and after testing.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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