Clandestine Drug Laboratory Assessments

Clandestine Laboratory Assessments

Wednesday 27 July, 2016

Clandestine laboratories have one function, production.

Little regard is given to the safety, or lasting effects of the many toxic chemicals that are used in the manufacturing of the product, nor the various by-products that may be produced or stored under inappropriate conditions.  Some of the precursor chemicals and the manufactured waste by-products are corrosive, flammable, possibly radio-active and toxic to occupants.

The Australian Clandestine Drug Laboratory Remediation Guidelines state the following:

"The residual contaminants which arise from a drug manufacture or ‘cooking’ process can be in the form of solids, liquids or vapours and can be absorbed by floorings, walls, drains, ducting and any furnishings or fixtures in the vicinity of the clan lab. ”

Due to the ongoing risk that clandestine drug laboratories (or clan labs) present, CETEC recommends that if you are in doubt over the history of your residence that you consider a Clandestine Laboratory Chemical Assessment.

The assessment process includes:

  • A trained CETEC consultant visiting your premises
  • Collection of airborne and/or surface samples (e.g. swabs)
  • The Consultant taking photographis of the site, and collection points
  • Laboratory analysis of collected swabs
  • Production of a detailed report including results and recommendations.

CETEC consultants can test for specific dangerous solvents used in manufacturing (e.g. toluene), through to residues of the drug precursors or the illicit drugs absorbed into fixture and fittings.  

A Clandestine Drug Laboratory Assessment provides answers and recommendations, and in best case scenario, the reassurance that your property is clean.

To discuss how a CETEC consultant can assist you, or to discuss whether your property may need an assessment, contact the CETEC team.

Within Australia, the rates of illicit drugs remains high, with approximately 15% of Australians having used an illicit drug in 2015.

Whilst there has been no increase in the proportion of Australians who use meth/amphetamine in 2013, compared to that of 2010, the use of ice more than doubled (from 21.7% in 2010 to 50.4% in 20131).

Given the large demand for illicit drugs, it is evident that some manufacturing must occur within clandestine laboratories which are typically conducted within residential premises. In 2014 police across the country raided almost 750 meth labs, and expect this figure to increase in 2015 and beyond2.

1 Australian Drug Foundation, Statistical Trends, Accessed 22/7/2016



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