There are times when sampling at a property needs to be undertaken to ascertain if the premises are contaminated by meth. The reality is that meth is a highly hazardous drug. Meth sampling must be undertaken in a concise manner. There are a dozen steps associated with the process of meth sampling:
- Place a paper towel, aluminum foil, or sheet of paper down on a flat surface to create a work area for the sampling process.
- Place all meth sampling supplies on the clean work area you’ve created.
- Put on fresh nitrile gloves. You need to use a new pair of gloves for each test.
- Open the gauze package and fold gauze into fourths.
- Apply enough wetting agent so gauze is moist but not dripping.
- Take the testing square to the testing area. Apply moist gauze to the top left of the square. Applying even pressure, move gauze in a Z pattern five times moving down the square. Without lifting, move the gauze in an N pattern five times moving across the square.
- Fold gauze on itself to get a clean ¼ corner and repeat in additional areas for a composite sample.
- Place gauze in a centrifuge tube.
- Label tube.
- Discard all trash.
- Complete chain of custody.
- Send the sample to the lab.
More information is presented to that you better understand what is involved with each of these steps of meth sampling.
Preliminary Matter: Don Proper Personal Protective Equipment
While the objective of sampling is to ascertain whether a property is contaminated with meth, you need to presume that it is. Thus, you need to be sure that you don appropriate personal protective equipment or PPE prior to commencing the meth sampling process outlined a moment ago. The PPE needed for meth sampling to ascertain if decontamination is needed includes:
- Protective eyewear
- Disposable N100 or P100 FFR respirator device
- Nitrile gloves
- Wrist and arm protective covering
There is some additional information about gloves that is discussed shortly.
Create a Work Area
You need to create a work area that allows you to prepare for the meth sampling process. The work area must also be designed to wrap up the onsite swabbing process and prepare a sample for transport to a lab for actual testing. A workspace is designed to prevent cross-contamination of a swab sample.
Gather Meth Testing Supplies
In order to protect the integrity of test swabs, all of the meth testing supplies and materials need to be gathered and maintained in the specified work area that you previously created. Taking this approach enhances the ability to protect against cross-contamination. By gathering all testing supplies into the work area, you create a strategy for more efficient testing.
Before you enter the premises to begin setting up for sampling, you should have donned appropriate personal protective equipment as outlined a moment ago. This should have included putting on nitrile gloves. You need to keep in mind that you need to change out your gloves before you take an individual sample. This is necessary in order to protect against cross-contamination.
Prepare Gauze for Swab
A meth testing kit will come complete with individual gauze swabs. As a general rule, you will need to fold an individual gauze swab into fourths.
Once you’ve folded the gauze as described, you need to moisten it so that it is moist. You need to make sure that the gauze is dampened, but not dripping.
Once the swab is appropriately moistened, you need to take the square to a designated testing area. Place the swab on the surface of the designated testing area and apply even pressure. Once you’ve done that, move the gauze in a Z pattern five times over the designated swab area. Without lifting the swab from the surface. Then move the gauze in an N pattern five times.
Repeat Swab Process
Move to the next testing area. You then refold the gauze you just utilized on itself. By doing so, you expose a fresh, unused section of the swab. You placed this unused portion of the swab onto the surface of the next testing area. Apply pressure as you did a moment ago and follow the same Z pattern five times. As before, you the male an N pattern five times.
Secure Swab in Vile
At this juncture, you place the used swab into a vile or centrifuge tube. You need to make sure the vile or tube appropriately is sealed. This may include placing a safety seal over the cap of the vile or tube.
Once the vile or tube is secured, you then need to discard all waste or trash accumulated as a result of the swabbing process.
Complete Chain of Custody
The chain of custody is designed to identify who has had contact with the sample from the testing site to the laboratory. This includes the person (or persons) who takes the swabs, the person who transported the swab samples, and the individuals who come into contact with the swab samples at the testing laboratory.
Send Sample to Testing Lab
The final part of the meth testing process is to send the samples to an appropriate laboratory. There should be no delay between finishing the swabbing process and getting the swabs on the way to the lab.