Australian parents whose child was suffering from ‘significant health issues’ discovered their house was contaminated with meth – years after they moved in.
Researchers tested the Victorian home after a child living at the residence began suffering from unexplained illnesses.
Despite the property appearing immaculate to the naked eye, the children’s bedrooms were found to be coated in drug residue, with traces on walls, furnishings – and even soft toys.
Levels exceeded the Australian safety guidelines, prompting the family to move out and donate their belongings for further research, Yahoo reports.
A Victorian family discovered their home was coated in methamphetamine after one of their children began suffering from ‘significant health issues’. Pictured is one of the kid’s bedroom and stuffed toys that had traces of the drug
The childrens’ bedrooms were found to be coated in drug residue, with traces on walls, furnishings and soft toys
The items contributed to a new study investigating how the substance can linger in the air and move around homes that have been used as illegal drug labs well after the facility has been shutdown.
Researchers from Adelaide’s Flinders University sampled the air inside meth-contaminated homes – where some low-budget manufacturers cook the stimulant.
It found significant levels of the drug floating around inside and above household possessions, including soft toys after they had been moved off-site.
Methamphetamine, commonly known as ice, can seep from gyprock walls and other furnishings into the air, the academics said.
Jackie Wright, one of the experts behind the peer-reviewed study, said inhalation of meth posed a significant risk to house members along with the more well-known exposure methods of dermal absorption and ingestion.
Surface wipes deployed during testing don’t measure inhalation contaminants and regulations need to change, she said.
Researchers from Adelaide’s Flinders University sampled soft toys (pictured) and air in homes that had been illegal drug labs
‘Australian guidelines currently allow for the assessment of methamphetamine in contaminated properties, or properties contaminated with other illicit drugs, but ignore inhalation exposure,’ Dr Wright said in a statement on Tuesday.
‘These policies can significantly underestimate the risks in former meth houses when new owners aren’t aware, and therefore indicate the guidelines don’t currently address protective health measures.’
Methamphetamine exposure risks through inhalation varies depending on the age of those inside a contaminated home, Flinders University associate professor Stewart Walker notes.
He says it’s the most likely mode of transmission for adults (60 per cent), but not so for young children (20 per cent).
Their main intake threats are absorbing the drug through their skin due to more commonly coming into contact with surfaces and objects, or ingestion because of their propensity to put things in their mouth.
Fellow associate professor Kirstin Ross says further research into air analysis of contaminated homes should be done to protect concerned families.
‘This would provide additional insight into the levels of contamination in a home,’ she said.
‘This data supports our assessment that the air phase is an important aspect of the transfer of methamphetamine contamination and the inhalation pathway is just as relevant as surface sampling when evaluating exposure risks.’
The study found the drug could move in the air and contaminate other household items