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neb

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  Reply # 2025891 30-May-2018 20:12
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Fred99:

What?

 

Radon isn't low-level radioactive waste.  Radon mitigation - usually by forced ventilation if needed - is pretty normal, quite widely used in parts of the US.

 

 

The level of natural radiation in the environment is high enough that it exceeds the threshold where it's classed as low-level radioactive waste. If you want to engage in some activity covered by nuclear regulatory requirements, you can't even begin to do it in that area because you've exceeded the safe limits before you even begin.



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  Reply # 2025953 30-May-2018 21:25
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neb:
Fred99:

 

What?

 

Radon isn't low-level radioactive waste.  Radon mitigation - usually by forced ventilation if needed - is pretty normal, quite widely used in parts of the US.

 

The level of natural radiation in the environment is high enough that it exceeds the threshold where it's classed as low-level radioactive waste. If you want to engage in some activity covered by nuclear regulatory requirements, you can't even begin to do it in that area because you've exceeded the safe limits before you even begin.

 

Measurement, mitigation, maximum workplace exposures may be regulated where it's an issue overseas.  Regularity requirements are varied, testing may be required in some areas, licensed contractors may be required to do this testing and to do mitigation work, there may be regulatory requirements for equipment calibration etc. But nope - it's not treated as "low level radioactive waste".  Here are some UK HSE regulations, information etc.
It's generally not considered to be an issue in NZ.  Testing is pretty simple these days.  For interest sake I had some tests at my home (not out of any concern, but I had the opportunity as part of a survey to find out - so why not?). 


gzt

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  Reply # 2025957 30-May-2018 21:39
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What exactly was housing NZ's property meth testing policy? I'm having trouble understanding why they ended up here in the first place..



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  Reply # 2026001 30-May-2018 22:07
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gzt: What exactly was housing NZ's property meth testing policy? I'm having trouble understanding why they ended up here in the first place..

 

There's some information / argument in an article here:

 

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11737621

 

(there's a mistake/typo, levels are generally expressed as ug/100cm2 - not ug/cm2 as stated)

 

MOH guideline here.

 

Edit - 2010 MOH document stating the low level of 0.5ug/100cm2 as indoor surface remedial guideline here. (P22)


neb

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  Reply # 2026013 30-May-2018 22:40
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Fred99: But nope - it's not treated as "low level radioactive waste".

 

 

OK, one more time and then I'm giving up:

 

 

* If you want to build (say) a nuclear reactor somewhere, your site has to comply with nuclear regulatory controls.

 

* Those controls include setting limits on how much radiation you can release into the surrounding environment, what level of waste you can store, etc.

 

* In some locations, the natural radiation is such that you've already exceeded the limits before you begin building. They can also exceed the threshold level where something, in this case the ground you're building on, is classed as LLRW.

 

* If you don't build a reactor you're fine because no regulatory controls apply. Once you decide to build a reactor, the controls apply, and the limits are already exceeded before you begin.

 




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  Reply # 2026018 30-May-2018 23:00
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neb:
Fred99: But nope - it's not treated as "low level radioactive waste".
OK, one more time and then I'm giving up: * If you want to build (say) a nuclear reactor somewhere

 

I suggest you give up.  What may or may not be required if you want to build a nuclear reactor is not really related to radon mitigation in homes etc. that brought up as a side issue in this thread anyway.

 

That side issue being that radon was suggested as being something for which there was "hysteria" similar to what seems to being claimed to be the case with meth contamination. 

 

There's radon in every house - it's not possible to say that risk from this is zero - but there's far better science (although disputed by some) quantifying that risk than seems to be the case for low level meth contamination.


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  Reply # 2026019 30-May-2018 23:04
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Hasn't this been known for ages? I mean this stuff article from 2016 pretty much says what was announced. 

 

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/80909747/Q-A-What-you-need-to-know-about-methamphetamine-contamination?rm=m

 

However it does say minimal risk with being in a house where someone has smoked it, which isn't zero risk.  So possibly they don't know what the long term affects of very low exposure is over time, and whether it builds up in the body? They say  there is no 'scientific evidence' anywhere of issues, but that may just be because the studies haven't been done, or that it may take years to get that information.  Some people are also more affected by chemicals than others. 




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  Reply # 2026030 30-May-2018 23:35
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mattwnz:

 

Hasn't this been known for ages? I mean this stuff article from 2016 pretty much says what was announced. 

 

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/80909747/Q-A-What-you-need-to-know-about-methamphetamine-contamination?rm=m

 

However it does say 'minimal risk' with being in a house where someone has smoked it. So possibly they don't know what the long term affects of very low exposure is over time, and whether it builds up in the body? They say  there is no 'scientific evidence' anywhere of issues, but that may just be because the studies haven't been done, or that it may take years to get that information.  Some people are also more affected by chemicals than others. 

 

 

Methamphetamine from trace contamination won't build up in your body like say lead from paint etc.

 

I don't know if it helps put things in perspective, but AFAIK a typical dose of meth by a non addict is about 100mg. (an addict may use more to get high).

 

The suggested threshold in that article is 0.5ug per 100cm2 = 50ug per m2 = 0.05mg per m2. That would mean that if you could lick it off, there would only be one 100mg "dose" of meth deposited on 2,000 square metres of wall surface - probably about the entire wall area of about 10 average sized houses.

 

 


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  Reply # 2026051 31-May-2018 06:54
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mattwnz:

 

Hasn't this been known for ages? I mean this stuff article from 2016 pretty much says what was announced. 

 

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/80909747/Q-A-What-you-need-to-know-about-methamphetamine-contamination?rm=m

 

However it does say minimal risk with being in a house where someone has smoked it, which isn't zero risk.  So possibly they don't know what the long term affects of very low exposure is over time, and whether it builds up in the body? They say  there is no 'scientific evidence' anywhere of issues, but that may just be because the studies haven't been done, or that it may take years to get that information.  Some people are also more affected by chemicals than others. 

 

 

What's a "significant" amount of meth? A gram? 5 grams?

 

0.15ug/100cm^2 = 15ug/m^2. A room that is 3x4x2m = 2*(12+8+6)=52m^2. Say 6 rooms of that size (3brm, kitchen, lounge, other) = 300m^2 of surfaces in the whole house.

 

So the total dose of meth for the whole house = 4.5mg

 

To get 1g, you would have to ingest the entire meth load of 200 houses.

 

TBH, I'm not surprised that MoH didn't manage to do this calculation.

 

 




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  Reply # 2026086 31-May-2018 09:19
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frankv:

 

TBH, I'm not surprised that MoH didn't manage to do this calculation.

 

 

I'm very confident that there would be many people at MOH who'd probably not even need to scribble it out on the back of an envelope or think about it very hard at all.

 

But what's the point? 
They're (scientists) probably under gag orders under threat of instant dismissal, I expect all contact with the media probably has to go through "official channels". 

 

As Gluckman points out, there's no evidence to suggest that exposure levels as would be experienced would be harmful, which of course means that there's also no evidence to prove that it's safe, - IOW what can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

 

But hey - we're talking about meth (very nasty drug) meth users (rightly or wrongly universally demonised) potential harm to children (need to be protected).  It was great story.

 

 


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  Reply # 2026091 31-May-2018 09:40
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Fred99:

gzt: What exactly was housing NZ's property meth testing policy? I'm having trouble understanding why they ended up here in the first place..


There's some information / argument in an article here:


https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11737621


(there's a mistake/typo, levels are generally expressed as ug/100cm2 - not ug/cm2 as stated)


MOH guideline here.


Edit - 2010 MOH document stating the low level of 0.5ug/100cm2 as indoor surface remedial guideline here. (P22)


The article explains that some people were kicked out of houses essentially because meth was used in the property. It's not clear to me what the actual policies were.



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  Reply # 2026101 31-May-2018 10:07
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gzt:
The article explains that some people were kicked out of houses essentially because meth was used in the property. It's not clear to me what the actual policies were.

 

The Ministry of Health issued new guidelines this week which said the acceptable level of meth contamination in houses where P had been used was 1.5 to 2 micrograms per square centimetre.

 

That is three to four times higher than the level HNZ had been using.

 

From that I'm assuming that they were using the guideline of 0.5ug/100cm2 (not per "square centimetre" as stated - that's just a normal mistake made by a reporter).

 

As far as the policies of when and where to test, whether the evictions were punitive (ie against users) or based on the prevailing perception of safety - I don't know.


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  Reply # 2026105 31-May-2018 10:16
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frankv:

mattwnz:


Hasn't this been known for ages? I mean this stuff article from 2016 pretty much says what was announced. 


https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/80909747/Q-A-What-you-need-to-know-about-methamphetamine-contamination?rm=m


However it does say minimal risk with being in a house where someone has smoked it, which isn't zero risk.  So possibly they don't know what the long term affects of very low exposure is over time, and whether it builds up in the body? They say  there is no 'scientific evidence' anywhere of issues, but that may just be because the studies haven't been done, or that it may take years to get that information.  Some people are also more affected by chemicals than others. 



What's a "significant" amount of meth? A gram? 5 grams?


0.15ug/100cm^2 = 15ug/m^2. A room that is 3x4x2m = 2*(12+8+6)=52m^2. Say 6 rooms of that size (3brm, kitchen, lounge, other) = 300m^2 of surfaces in the whole house.


So the total dose of meth for the whole house = 4.5mg


To get 1g, you would have to ingest the entire meth load of 200 houses.


TBH, I'm not surprised that MoH didn't manage to do this calculation.


 


I get the impression that a typical buy for a meth user is a 'point bag' ie; 0.1 grams. I believe that gives a number of doses of the stuff.



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  Reply # 2026130 31-May-2018 11:08
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gzt: 
I get the impression that a typical buy for a meth user is a 'point bag' ie; 0.1 grams. I believe that gives a number of doses of the stuff.

 

I think that might be how an occasional user buys it, but for a regular user with a dependency issue, then probably nope - they could be using many times that dose every day.

 

Hope fentanyl never becomes a "thing" here as it is in the US etc - probably ~20,000 overdose deaths per year.

 

 

Apparently it's being produced illicitly in large quantities and very cheaply in China.  It's hard enough trying to stop kilograms of heroin from crossing borders, lord knows how you'd ever stop something so strong that with some fentanyl analogues, you'd be able to hide thousands of dangerous level doses inside something the size of one panadol gel cap.

 

 


UHD

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  Reply # 2027123 1-Jun-2018 18:27
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frankv:

 

mattwnz:

 

Hasn't this been known for ages? I mean this stuff article from 2016 pretty much says what was announced. 

 

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/80909747/Q-A-What-you-need-to-know-about-methamphetamine-contamination?rm=m

 

However it does say minimal risk with being in a house where someone has smoked it, which isn't zero risk.  So possibly they don't know what the long term affects of very low exposure is over time, and whether it builds up in the body? They say  there is no 'scientific evidence' anywhere of issues, but that may just be because the studies haven't been done, or that it may take years to get that information.  Some people are also more affected by chemicals than others. 

 

 

What's a "significant" amount of meth? A gram? 5 grams?

 

0.15ug/100cm^2 = 15ug/m^2. A room that is 3x4x2m = 2*(12+8+6)=52m^2. Say 6 rooms of that size (3brm, kitchen, lounge, other) = 300m^2 of surfaces in the whole house.

 

So the total dose of meth for the whole house = 4.5mg

 

To get 1g, you would have to ingest the entire meth load of 200 houses.

 

TBH, I'm not surprised that MoH didn't manage to do this calculation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once again, the actual meth level is not the issue here. The meth contamination level has been used internationally as a best fit litmus test to indicate the likely level of the (far more dangerous to human health) presence of precursor substances which are used to cook meth. The consensus overseas has been cleaning a property down to 1.5µg or thereabouts is enough so that the presence of the precursors will only be at trace levels or levels that are far below what is safe for humans.

 

There is no way to know for sure if a property has been used to cook meth or just smoke it unless you find physical evidence (precursors, equipment) or conduct prohibitively expensive testing for what is a fairly broad range of different chemicals. Though there is probably a 1:1000 ratio of meth lab to smoke house, Housing New Zealand decided to err on the side of caution to avoid potential death for its tenants as the Ministry of Health refused to set its own safe level guidelines in NZ and simply adopted those used internationally.

 

Housing New Zealand would have been completely crucified if a child had died while living in a contaminated ex-lab so I don't blame them for their decisions though I can understand those who think it was a witch hunt to weed out undesirable tenants.


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