Clandestine Laboratory Assessment

Clandestine Laboratory Assessment

The number of clandestine laboratories found across Australia is on the rise. According to the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission Illicit Drug Data Report, of the 432 clandestine laboratories detected nationally in 2017-18, almost 70% were located in residential areas, near schools, playgrounds and other residential homes. This number only represents about 10% of the total clandestine laboratories in Australia.

The manufacture of illicit drugs is typically done in small clandestine laboratories, with relatively inexpensive over-the-counter ingredients including common cold medications. Illicit drug manufacture also involves a number of other easily obtained chemicals that are hazardous, such as acetone, anhydrous ammonia (fertilizer), ether, red phosphorus, and lithium

The toxic residues left by the illicit drug manufacture do not break down over time, therefore, once a home is contaminated, it will remain so until it is professionally cleaned. Exposure to high levels of illicit drug residue, either inhaled or absorbed through the skin can cause a range of serious health issue.

The only way to tell if your home is contaminated is to have it tested. Opterra can perform a number of tests to determine whether your house or property has been contaminated from illicit drug manufacture or illicit drug use.

Composite Testing

The Laboratory Composite Test is used as a front-line test for property owners, residents or estate agents to determine whether any trace of illicit drug is present at a property. Our experienced and qualified Occupational Hygienist will take multiple swab samples throughout the property with an approved test kit, and have them tested by independent, NATA accredited laboratory.

A property is considered contaminated if concentrations are above the level recommended as safe by the Australian Governments Clandestine Drug Laboratory Remediation Guidelines. If results are above the recommended levels, a detailed forensic assessment will be needed 

Detailed Forensic Assessment

If Base Composite Test results return a reading above the recommended safe level, a Detailed Forensic Assessment will be required. Our experienced and qualified Occupational Hygienist will assess and identify individual rooms that require decontamination and to provide a detailed report on contamination levels and toxicity.  

The individual sample technique is designed to specifically determine where the contamination is within the residence. This also helps remediation companies to provide a scope of work depending on the degree of contamination in different areas in different rooms.

Before the contaminated premises may be reoccupied, professional remediation is required to remove all residual toxins. Opterra can provide a Remediation Action Plan to address the issue of site contamination and remediation options and form a part of the contaminated site investigation process. The broad purpose of a RAP is to establish remediation goals to ensure contaminated sites, once remediated, will be suitable for their proposed use and will not pose an unacceptable risk to human or environmental health.

After remediation, small amounts of residual chemicals may remain and thus sampling should be undertaken to ensure the objectives of the RAP have been achieved and levels of chemicals adequately reduced.

Contact Us to find out more.

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