The first phase of the meth decontamination process is to test the premises to confirm contamination. Testing occurs directly after a property has been secured properly to prevent anyone unauthorized from entering the structure. In order to undertake a safe, thorough, effective meth decontamination, you first need to understand how to properly test for the presence of the drug at a particular location in the first instance.
There are a number of specific points to consider when it comes to testing for meth:
- Testing personal protective equipment
- Identifying sample locations
- Sample demarcation and size
- Swab for meth traces
- Secure swab
- Transport to a testing lab
- Testing and results
Testing Personal Protective Equipment
A meth contaminated site can present very significant health hazards. Consequently, before the meth testing process commences, it is important that a person (or persons) involved in onsite testing dons appropriate personal protective equipment or PPE. The minimum level of PPE for testing a suspected meth site includes:
- Protective eyewear
- Disposable N100 or P100 FFR respirator device
- Nitrile gloves
- Wrist and arm protective covering
Identifying Sampling Locations
Testing for meth begins with the identification of specific sampling locations within a property suspected of meth contamination. In order to understand the process, for the purposes of overviewing testing for meth, a residential setting is used. Examples of specific locations within a property commonly tested for meth contamination include:
- Living room floor
- Living room walls
- Kitchen floor
- Kitchen walls
- Bathroom floor
- Bathroom walls
- Specific bedroom floor
- Specific bedroom walls
- HVAC system (including ducts)
You may have noted that ceilings are not mentioned on the testing list. The fact is that a ceiling is not at all apt to be contaminated unless the walls and floor are as well. Swab testing the ceiling takes extra time and is more challenging. Because testing the ceiling largely is unnecessary, it can be avoided when investigating the state of the premises.
When it comes to selecting sampling testing locations, not every room in a particular property needs to be tested. The rooms listed and items listed here are the ones most commonly found to be contaminated with meth if a lab or user previously was present at a particular location.
Sample Demarcation and Size
Once the specific room and locations in those spaces have been identified, the next step is to demarcate individual samples and their sizes. In most cases, identifying a sample are of about 1-square inch suffices.
These individual sample blocks need to be identified in each room in which testing is to occur. For example, in a particular room, you likely will want to demarcate three or four sample blocks on a particular wall.
Swab for Meth Traces
There are commercially prepared testing kits that can be used to swab for the presence of meth at a particular location. The most efficient of these kits include swabs that can be used to detect meth on surfaces.
These swabs are simple to use. You literally just swab a predesignated testing area in a room with a swab.
You do need to take care not to contaminate a swab. You must be careful when you remove it from its sealed packaging. You need to be certain that you appropriately secure a used swab in a secure sample vile or packet.
Once a swab has been used to test a location for the presence of meth, you must immediately seal it in the vile or other container provided in the testing kit. The vile or other container must be properly sealed. Oftentimes, there is a security seal that is applied to ensure that no one tampers with the test sample until it can be tested at an appropriate laboratory.
Transport to Testing Lab
Once the swabs taken at a suspected meth contaminated are securely stowed, they need to be transported to an appropriate testing laboratory. There are labs in California and across the United States that provide prompt, reliable meth and fentanyl testing services.
A key element of the transport process is maintaining what is known as the chain of custody. In other words, any individual involved in the transport of the swab samples must be identified, from the person who took the swabs to the transport provider to those in the laboratory that come into contact with the samples.
Testing and Results
There are specific laboratories that provide meth testing. These facilities likely also test for fentanyl as well. In a growing number of cases, individuals concerned about a contaminated site are worried about both meth and fentanyl. In other words, if they don’t test for both, they can end up ruling out one type of contamination and not be aware that a property is contaminated with the other hazardous drug.
There are meth testing specialists that can ensure that a property is properly is screened for the presence of methamphetamine contamination. Moreover, there are skilled, reputable meth decontamination companies that can test and then provide safe, thorough remediation services to return a property to a wholesome, useable condition.