New guidelines for meth lab clean ups

  • Tony Ryall

Health Minister Tony Ryall has released new guidelines for cleaning up clandestine laboratories used to manufacture methamphetamine or 'P'.

"The guidelines are a first for this country and were requested by the councils, landlords and communities who have to clean up these sites" says Mr Ryall.

"Most Illegal meth labs are set up in residential properties where they can leave extremely hazardous chemical residues for the offenders and their families living there, or for the people cleaning up after them."

I am advised that the number of these labs detected by Police has increased dramatically from 9 in 2000 to 135 in 2009," says Mr Ryall.

The Ministry of Health's guidelines provide nationally consistent and practical advice for checking for and dealing with contaminated sites so they can be reoccupied without serious risk to health.

Health effects depend on the manufacturing process and chemicals being used; the amount of chemical and length of exposure; and the age and health of the person exposed. Chemicals may enter the body by being inhaled, ingested, or absorbed through the skin.

The risk to health from workplace exposure is a matter for the Department of Labour.

Central and local government agencies, industry, public health boards and site remediation contractors and overseas agencies were consulted during the preparation of these guidelines.

Electronic copies of the guidelines are available on the Ministry of Health website at:

Anyone who has information about the existence of clandestine methamphetamine labs should contact the Police.