Meth and Mould FAQs

Mould FAQs

How do Moisture Meters Detect Moisture?

Today, there are two variations of accurate moisture meter technology used to detect moisture in building materials to establish mould risk:

  • Pin-type meters use wood, cellulose fibers and other hygroscopic materials as a circuit element, sending electrode currents through the material with two pins. This is based on the principle of electrical resistance, and identifies water presence within the material.
  • Pinless meters perform the same function as models with pins, but use radio frequency signals in place of electrical currents. These meters emit signals into the scanned surface, and do not physically enter or damage the tested surface.

What does a POSITIVE result mean?

The PrimeTech mould screening tests we use, are highly sensitive to specific mould types that are suspected to cause health issues. A positive result indicates that the area that was sampled contains detectable levels of these moulds. It does not necessarily indicate that you have a serious mould issue but rather that you consider consulting with a professional indoor air quality inspector or remediation service professional. The actions you take will depend on many factors including the extent of the mould infestation, the specific type of mould, the overall air quality in your living spaces and the costs involved. For serious mould is-sues, it is strongly recommended that you follow up with a laboratory test

What does a NEGATIVE result mean?

Remember there is mould everywhere around you. The question is at what level and whether certain individuals may be sensitive to the types that are present. Although the PrimeTech mould screening tests we use, are highly sensitive screening devices for specific mould types , a NEGATIVE result indicates that the ar-ea sampled does not contain mould levels above a certain significant level. It also does not conclusively indicate that there may not be a mould issue elsewhere in your property. A negative result on a settled dust sample does give a general indication that there is not a significant mould spore level in the air within the areas tested. Negative results may occur when levels of specific antigens ( mould ) are below the detectable concentration level (sensitivity) of the cassette test. The screening test is not intended for post-remediation clearance testing

What causes Mould?

What is mould? Mould is a type of fungus that grows in damp areas inside and outside the home. It usually appears as green, grey, brown, black, white or red growth or stains on walls, ceilings and other surfaces. It appears in speckled patches or streaks that become larger as it grows. Another name for mould is mildew. Mould needs moisture to live – it grows when there is dampness in or on a surface (such as walls, ceilings, floors, curtains or furniture) for a prolonged period of time. If there is a lot of mould in a house, it means there is too much moisture in the air, or there may be a water leak or splashes that have not been dried. However, the most common cause of excess moisture is condensation. Condensation is dampness on walls, ceilings, floors, windows or window sills. It happens when wet, warm air such as cooking or bathroom steam (or even the warm air from your breathing), touches cold surfaces. This causes water to form. Leaky building syndrome is often caused by water damage. This is when moisture inside a house allows mould to grow. If your home is poorly ventilated, or you are us-ing gas heating, your home could be harbouring increasing amounts of mould. It only takes a small water leak, or even excess humidity, for mould to form in your home. Weather tightness has increased since the 1970’s without any consideration for associated and much needed ventilation. Consequently we now have buildings literally sweating which is creating mould contamination in all homes, new and old.

What is Stachybotrys chartarum (Stachybotrys atra)?

Stachybotrys chartarum (also known by its synonym Stachybotrys atra) is a greenish-black mould. It can grow on material with a high cellulose and low nitrogen content, such as fiberboard, gib board, paper, dust, and lint. Growth occurs when there is moisture from water damage, excessive humidity, water leaks, conden-sation, water infiltration, or flooding. Constant moisture is required for its growth. It is not necessary. All moulds should be treated the same with respect to potential health risks and removal.

What is Black Mould?

The symptoms and health effects of black mould exposure and black mould poisoning cover a wide range of health problems. Stachybotrys chartarum, commonly known as black mould, can release spores as it feeds on organic materials. This occurs in common household materials like gib, carpet, insulation or sub-flooring that have been exposed to moisture. If these spores are ingested or inhaled it can cause a range of symptoms that cause irritation and even more hazardous symptoms. The most common black mould symptoms and health effects are linked to a respiratory response. Chronic coughing and sneezing, irritation to the eyes, mucus membranes of the nose and throat, rashes, chronic fatigue and persistent headaches can all be symptoms of black mould exposure. In worst case scenarios of extended exposure to black mould, the symptoms can become even more dangerous. These symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, and bleeding in the lungs and nose. If you notice these symptoms, take immediate action to protect your health and your home.

Signs of mould in your property

If you notice any of the following symptoms, it is very likely you have mould:

  • Look Around. Are there any water spots in your ceiling? Are any of your walls discolored or yellow from old leaks? Is there any paint that’s cracked or peeling? All of these signs could point to mold lurking behind the gib board.
  • Are there any water spots in your ceiling? Are any of your walls discolored or yellow from old leaks? Is there any paint that’s cracked or peeling? All of these signs could point to mold lurking behind the gib board.
  • Check for Smells Do any areas in your home smell musty or like mildew? Sometimes a strange odor will be the only sign you get hinting at a mold problem.
  • Take Note of Leaks Have you had any flooding or leaks lately? Mold often shows up after these little disasters, so this can be a big clue.
  • Check the Gutters Are your gutters blocked? Blocked gutters can cause water to back up and leak into the side of your home or into the basement.
  • Visible ‘furry’ texture on surfaces of varying dark green/blue or black colour.
  • Persistent physical symptoms (sneezing, runny noses, red eyes and skin rashes) that seem to lessen when the sufferer is not at home.

Does Having a Damp house mean you will get mould?

Dampness definitely does promote mould in our homes. While dehumidifiers and ventilation systems can help lessen the likelihood of mould, they don’t always tackle the cause itself. In many cases. On average, the households produce around 8 litres of moisture in the home each day from a range of activities such as showering, breathing, and cooking. Dampness can also be caused by moisture getting into your house from outside, underneath or through leaky plumbing. These sources of moisture are often hidden and can go undetected for a long time, causing damage to your home, including the growth of mould.

What can I do to prevent mould?

The most important thing is to reduce moisture in your house. This will help stop mould growing. There are lots of ways you can reduce moisture: Reduce condensation ,Wipe condensation that occurs off windows and walls. Don’t leave damp towels on the window sill to dry. Open a few windows slightly throughout the house for 1-2 hours a day when you’re home so air can circulate. On sunny days, open windows and doors for longer to let in plenty of fresh air. When showering, open a window in the bathroom a little or use an extractor fan. While someone is home, leave the window open for a while after your shower to let steam and condensation clear. Un-flued portable gas heaters (gas heaters expel water as the gas burns ) create a lot of moisture in the house. Always open windows slightly when using them, or use a dry source of heat such as an electric heater or wood burner.

Other things you can do to prevent mould and damp are:

  • Keep lids on pots when cooking
  • Wipe condensation off walls and windows

Can Mould cause Health Problems?

Small amounts of mould are common in most houses in New Zealand and usually don’t cause any health concerns. However, when mould is left to grow in large quantities it can cause serious health problems. This is because mould releases thousands of very tiny or invisible spores (like tiny seeds) into the air. These spores can cause serious health issues when breathed in, especially for elderly people and infants, people with weak immune systems or people suffering from asthma or other respiratory problems. Some mould produce highly poisonous spores which can be life threatening when breathed in, even in small amounts.

Will Mould Exposure Make Me Sick?

Not all people who have been exposed to mould will experience a health problem. Health problems depend on the amount of mould, and the susceptibility of the individual. The young, old, and those with weakened immune systems are typically the most at risk.

Can I clean The Mould?

Common mould (non-toxic)
Moisture, is necessary for mould spores to grow, and removing the excess moisture and its source will usually eliminate the risk of further mould formation. The black mould that you may see growing on grouting and walls of showers and bathtubs is unlikely to be dangerous. The most common mould is Cladosporium. Although it can be an irritant to those with asthma or respiratory disease, it is not known to pose any toxic hazard. The most effective way to prevent it is by providing adequate ventilation. Vent fans should be installed in all areas where dampness can occur.

Who should do the clean-up depends on a number of factors. One consideration is the size of the mould problem, and after you have reassured yourself with a negative test from PrimeTech in most cases, you can handle the job yourself. Avoid exposing yourself or others to mould and fix plumbing leaks and other water problems as soon as possible. Dry all items completely. No safe levels of indoor dampness and or mould have been defined.

Does Having a Damp house mean you will get mould?

Dampness definitely does promote mould in our homes. While dehumidifiers and ventilation systems can help lessen the likelihood of mould, they don’t always tackle the cause itself. In many cases. On average, the households produce around 8 litres of moisture in the home each day from a range of activities such as showering, breathing, and cooking. Dampness can also be caused by moisture getting into your house from out-side, underneath or through leaky plumbing. These sources of moisture are often hidden and can go undetected for a long time, causing damage to your home, including the growth of mould

What if I need to Know more?

There’s no doubt that mould can be a problematic, even dangerous, nuisance in the home. If left unchecked, it can actually destroy your home’s value. The best way to can combat mold is to focus on prevention. The less opportunity you give mould to flourish, the less stress and worry you’ll have to deal with later on. Contact us

Meth FAQs

Why Meth Test A Property?

Methamphetamine is a powerful, highly addictive stimulant used illicitly in New Zealand and around the world. It is obtained either through smuggling into the country, or by being manufactured locally in clandestine laboratories (meth labs). These meth labs may be found in residential dwellings, commercial accommodation, and even vehicles.

A dwelling can become contaminated with methamphetamine residues if the drug is manufactured or smoked within it. Smoking usually results in much lower residue levels compared with manufacture.

Meth labs vary in how they manufacture and there are many meth producers today who have found easier ways to make it , unlike the elaborate and clandestine meth labs , and is portable so it can be made in apartments, houses, motels, motorhomes or cars.

What level of detection, methamphetamine residue on household surfaces poses a risk to human health?

At present, there is differing scientific opinion over what level of methamphetamine consists as a safe level for people to live in. New Zealand’s Prime Minister’s Chief Science Adviser, Professor Sir Peter Gluckman has produced a report for the Housing Minister which says there is no evidence that third-hand exposure from methamphetamine smoking causes adverse health effects, and says he cannot see the point in testing homes for methamphetamine because the risk to health is so low in most cases.

Professor Sir Peter Gluckman said the new regime would make 200 previously unsafe Housing New Zealand houses available shortly and save HNZ around $30 million a year in testing and remediation. He also said that he couldn’t see the point of testing, full stop, unless the police or the forensics suspect it has been a place of synthesis. Only 5 to 10 percent of Properties used as operating meth labs are found by police. Sir Peter Gluckman said people were more at risk from mould in their home than they were from meth contamination, and in terms of the housing estate, mould is far more dangerous that meth.

But the meth testing industry has slammed the report, calling the office of the PM’s Chief Science Advisor “reckless”. They have been provided with a report that panders to the economic and social policy direction this government is looking to set.

Often meth is made in bedrooms using hotplates and Pyrex dishes without the need for running water or electricity and only takes a few hours to do a batch with minimal equipment.

What is Methamphetamine?

Methamphetamine (Meth) is a member of the amphetamine group of synthetic drugs that have a stimulant effect on a person’s central nervous system. In New Zealand the nickname for Meth is P.

No property type is safe from use as a manufacturing facility, whether they be homes, motel rooms, apartments or vehicles. The portability of meth labs means that they can easily be moved and contaminate multiple properties.

What is “The New Zealand Standard“ for Meth Contamination

The New Zealand standard “NZS8510:2017 Testing and decontamination of methamphetamine-contaminated properties” In summary the standard, NZS8510 references the following decontamination recommendations:

  • 1.5 μg/100cm2 in high use areas (areas of a property frequently used by people) based on an individual sample.
  • 3.8 μg/100cm2 in low use areas (i.e.: roof spaces and crawl spaces) based on an individual sample.

It is important to note that the standard does not distinguish between meth use and manufacture due to the fact that meth labs are sometimes indistinguishable from meth usage.

However, when it comes to buying property, while purchasers may use the Standard as a guide, the reality is that they will always use their own perceived ‘acceptable level’ to determine whether or not they wish to buy a property which tests positive for meth. Most people want no meth in the property they are buying.

Can Simply Smoking Meth Contaminate My House?

Smoking is by far the most common form of meth use and cause of property contamination in New Zealand. When meth is smoked, the drug is heated and turned into a vapour. The vapour that is not inhaled by the smoker is then left to linger and will invariably be deposited on the walls, floors, furnishings, and ducting system of the house leaving a detectable residue of meth. The amount of meth residue depends on the amount and frequency of smoking in the property. The far greater concern with regards to property contamination relates to the manufacture of the drug in properties.

What is Shake and Bake?

It’s a simpler way to make meth in a bottle that unfortunately is just as risky and the process is called shake and bake, which simplifies how meth is created. In the traditional meth-cooking labs, there was equipment needed including things to heat chemicals, glass beakers, and of course all of the various ingredients. So what is shake and bake meth? The shake and bake method of creating meth is faster and takes up less space, and unfortunately, people can do it even while they’re in their car. Shake and bake method requires mixing chemicals in a soda bottle, and while it may seem like a quick fix for people who want to make meth, it’s still extremely dangerous. The chemical reactions that take place in the mixing bottle often lead to an explosion when the cap is removed. The result is serious burns, and there is also the risks associated with disposing of the bottles used to make the drug. They can explode or poison people when they’re thrown out. When people make shake and bake meth, even the smallest error can lead to the explosion, when the cap is removed. The result is serious burns, and there is also the risks associated with disposing of the bottles used to make the drug. They can explode or poison people when they’re thrown out. When people make shake and bake meth, even the smallest error can lead to the explosion.

Who Should Get a Meth Test?

Anyone who has an interest in ensuring their environment or assets are free of Methamphetamine contamination. Prospective buyers of property, Tenants, Landlords, should all consider undertaking testing on properties.

  • Prospective buyers – Before making a bid or tendering an offer to purchase real estate
  • Tenants – Before moving into a property
  • Landlords – At the start, during and at the end end of a tenancy
  • Moteliers – Testing rentable units for contamination
  • Lock up Storage Managers -Testing units
  • Marina’s – Testing members boat’s as requested
  • Motorhomes & buying used cars or Stolen vehicles: If your vehicle has been recovered you should get a drug test done on the vehicle to check that there has been no heavy methamphetamine smoking causing contamination or that it has not been used as a methamphetamine laboratory.

How is Meth Used?

Meth is used in a variety of ways:

  • Smoking with glass bongs, hollowed out light bulbs, aluminium drink cans, plastic bottles and anything else they can think of. The drug is heated in a glass pipe, bowl or stem until it becomes gaseous (“smoke”). It’s then inhaled into the lungs. The “smoke” enters the blood stream via the lungs.
  • Intravenious injection that delivers the substance directly into a vein with a needle and syringe.
  • Snorting is a common method of use, where the drug is chopped or crushed into a powder which is then inhaled into the nose. Once inside the nose and sinuses, the drug is absorbed by the blood vessels. When heated on a spoon the vapour is inhaled usually through the nose
  • Crystal can be done in pill form. Users can still take meth in that way today, either with manufactured pills, homemade pills, or other means of ingesting the drug. People mix it into water, juice, soda, or add it to coffee. Some will wrap the meth in a small bit of toilet or tissue paper then swallow it.

What Does Meth Look Like?

Meth is used in a variety of ways:
In most cases, methamphetamine is in the form of a crystalline white powder. The powder has no odor, it tastes bitter, and it dissolves in water easily. There may be other colors as well including brown, pink, or yellow-gray. Crystal meth, on the other hand, comes as clear crystals that look like ice.

What if I need to Know more?

Testing a property for methamphetamine is the best way to ensure that a home is free from meth drug residue or has not been used for drug use or manufacture. Contact

What if I need to Know more?

Testing a property for methamphetamine is the best way to ensure that a home is free from meth drug residue or has not been used for drug use or manufacture. Contact