Hawke’s Bay-based Drug Smart has become the first company in New Zealand to gain IANZ accreditation to test for methamphetamine contamination, following the release of the new standard NZS 8510 last year.
Standards New Zealand released the guideline for the testing and decontamination of meth-contaminated properties, in June 2017 in an attempt to provide industry guidance on good practice methods.
Twenty-one committee members from the public and private sector contributed to the development of the voluntary standard which addresses properties used as make-shift laboratories for the illicit manufacture of methamphetamine, as well as properties contaminated by the use of methamphetamine.
The scope of NZS 8510 covers measures to manage risks to health, well-being, safety, and the environment; guidance on methods of screening, sampling and testing of properties and their contents; best practice procedures and criteria of decontaminating methamphetamine-contaminated properties and their contents; and guidance on post-decontamination actions, including sampling and testing.
Drug Smart, which provides meth testing along the East Coast and lower North Island, is run by Warren Murdoch and his son, Sam.
Managing director Sam Murdoch said the application to International Accreditation New Zealand (IANZ) was a very thorough process and Drug Smart was proud to be the first in the country to gain accreditation.
“It was good to be scrutinised in such a way because, now we’ve got the IANZ accreditation, it gives assurance to our clients they are in safe hands. Given the clientele we have, it is definitely a bonus for us to have IANZ on our reports and our website,” Sam Murdoch said.
His company tests between 50 and 100 properties each month for meth contamination, and its clients include national government organisations, insurance companies and loss adjusters, as well as property management companies and individual property owners.
“We believe the New Zealand public deserves the highest quality testing, which is why we sought IANZ accreditation and why we’re committed to operating in accordance with the new Standard,” said Murdoch.
IANZ’s general manager of accreditation services Phil Barnes said the new standard requires complete independence between the test providers and the cleaning companies. In the past, conflict of interest problems arose with the same companies doing both.
“Some property owners ended up spending a small fortune, sometimes tens of thousands of dollars, on decontamination that wasn’t actually necessary.
“Now, for a company to claim compliance with the standard and gain accreditation, they have to demonstrate to IANZ that their meth testing samplers have appropriate training and competence and that their testing kits are proven to be reliable.”