Caravan Contamination

What Could Your Second Hand Caravan Be Hiding

We recently purchased a 1970’s Viscount Caravan to make into a mobile office.

It was in pretty bad shape on the inside, that didn’t matter, because we were going to strip out the bed, table and some of the cupboards as well to make our new little office.

Our caravan, at some time in the 70’s, been someone’s pride and joy and holiday home. It had been the spare room for visitors, it had been the kids retreat and then went on to be the bedroom of a young man in the country.

It could have had many more incarnations in the past 45 years that we will never know about. What I do know about for sure is that it was positive to methamphetamine contamination over 0.5ug/100cm2. We found this out by using Indicative (Rapid) testing cassettes purchased online.

It’s been on the news, in the papers and on our current affairs programs. The problem with Meth Contamination is it doesn’t wash away with just any detergent, you need to know your levels of contamination and where the positive readings are in the van. There are people who use caravan’s as party or “smoke” rooms or even as mobile Meth Labs.

Contamination generally can’t be seen or smelt and any person living in the contaminated space are potentially exposed to those residues. You can absorb contamination through your skin, by eating food that has been prepared or stored where there are residues or by breathing them in if contaminated materials become airborne.

This information is presented in a Fact Sheet released by the Department of Health WA which reads “Meth and other illicit drugs have their primary effect on the central nervous system which can lead to addictive behaviour, permanent psychological problems, and other severe health impacts. While the health impacts on drug users is well known, the effects of prolonged passive exposure on other people such as those living in a drug contaminated property, are poorly understood, though more so with meth.
The level of risk largely depends on the level of contamination and the susceptibility of the people living in the house, with children (especially toddlers) and pregnant women being of most concern. Signs of excessive exposure to illicit drug residues can include mental, behavioural and respiratory effects, such as migraines, disturbed sleep and asthma type symptoms, respectively. 

Tess Glasgow, from DetectaDrug noted that it is not a death knell for your caravan. If your van was to come back with a reading of over 0.5ug/100cm2 (Australian Government Guidelines) you could have analytical testing done to find the actual levels. Once you have analytical levels you are then able to work out if you need to wash your interior using a specific technique or you need to employ a professional cleaner. Worst case scenarios would include the strip out and replacement of the inside of your van.

If you are investing $10k to $50k on a 2nd hand van, a small investment can save you a lot of heartache in the future.

You can buy Do It Yourself Meth Testing Kits online for as little as $80 from DetectaDrug’s online shop or book a professional Testing Technician to come in and complete the testing for you.