Clan Labs

Jackie Wright is conducting research, as a followup to her PhD at Flinders University, in relation to exposures at clandestine drug laboratories. For information on the research work being conducted please contact Jackie Wright on 0425 206 295, or wrig0315@flinders.edu.au

Thesis : Exposure and Risk Associated with Clandestine Amphetamine-Type Stimulant Drug Laboratories

Links and Reference Documents
Jackie Wright, through Environmental Risk Sciences, has contributed to the development of the Clandestine Drug Laboratory Remediation Guidelines released in 2011. The document provides guidance on the assessment and remediation of former clandestine drug laboratories. The key contribution to the guidance was the development of Investigation Levels (ILs, summarised in Appendix 1 of the guidelines) for the assessment of these sites.

The guidelines were developed to provide criteria relevant to the protection of human health and the environment for key chemicals that may be present in a former clandestine drug laboratory as indoor surface residues, indoor air contamination and outdoor soil contamination. Human health criteria were established for low-density residential, recreational and commercial/industrial land-use scenarios consistent with land-use scenarios addressed in other health investigation levels (HILs) published in Australia (National Environment Protection Measures, NEPM, available from http://www.ephc.gov.au/contam

Guidelines for Environment Investigations, Remediation and Validation of former Clandestine Drug Laboratory Sites are available from:
http://www.ag.gov.au/CrimeAndCorruption/Drugs/Documents/Clandestinedruglaboratoryremediationguidelines.pdf

Paper: Contamination of Homes with Methamphetamine: Is Wipe Sampling Adequate to Determine Risk?
Abstract: Contamination of domestic dwellings from methamphetamine cooking or smoking is an increasing public health problem in many countries. To evaluate the extent of contamination, sampling generally focusses on the collection of surface wipe samples from walls and other surfaces of a potentially contaminated home. Here, we report the contamination levels of many household materials and items sampled from a home that was suspected to be the premises used to cook methamphetamine, it was then sold, lived in for several years by the new owners and then left unattended for several more years. Although the time since the cooking had taken place was significant (over five years), the levels of contamination were extremely high in both household items that were part of the house when cooking was taking place (blinds, carpets, walls, etc.) and also in articles brought to the house post-cooking (rugs, toys, beds, etc.). Both wipe sampling and analysis of bulk samples indicate that the methamphetamine is not breaking down or being removed and is transferred from contaminated to non-contaminated objects. These results raise questions about the adequacy of characterising contamination and of making decisions about the extent of remediation required based solely on surface wipe samples. Without fully understanding the extent of contamination that is present, not only on surfaces but within the building materials, it is difficult to ensure that the correct and most effective remedial approaches are taken to appropriately determine and address the risks to inhabitants.