Clandestine methamphetamine (meth) laboratories or ‘clan labs’ have been a growing problem in New Zealand. In recent years the number detected by the New Zealand Police has increased dramatically from 9 in 2000 to 135 in 2009.
Typically after a lab is discovered by the New Zealand Police, the bulk of any lab-related debris, such as chemicals and containers, is removed. However, contamination may be left on surfaces and in absorbent materials (carpets, furniture), sinks, drains and ventilation systems. Though often found in small amounts, clandestine methamphetamine laboratory (clan meth lab) contaminants may pose health hazards to people exposed to them.
In response to growing concerns over the contamination left behind at clandestine methamphetamine labs, the Ministry of Health has put together the following guidance to assist public health staff of District Health Boards and other agencies such as territorial authorities in addressing public concerns and giving practical advice.
These guidelines are directed at non-workplace exposure to buildings contaminated from activities associated with the manufacture of methamphetamine. The risk to health from workplace exposure is a matter for the Department of Labour.