We lived in a meth house for six months
A FAMILY spent nearly six months living in a home with dangerously high leftover methamphetamine residue without even knowing it.
Until they got sick.
Anthony and Sophie Turner - and their two sons, aged 13 and 19 - moved into a four-bedroom rental home in Bundall on December 15 last year.
But within weeks, the family became ill. Ms Turner came down with severe migraines leading to ambulances being called on multiple occasions, their two sons had rashes and blisters, and Mr Turner suffered from gastro issues.
"My 19-year-old has heart problems, he was born with it … but the click in his heart is now louder," Ms Turner said.
"The doctor is convinced that (the meth) has some effect.
"It's just mind-blowing what has happened. It's just been a nightmare."
Meth Screen managing director Ryan Matthews, whose company screened the house for methamphetamine residue, said levels of methamphetamine 20 times higher than the safety guidelines of 0.5 micrograms were found.
"Ten micrograms were contained on multiple samples," he said, indicating drugs had been used in the house, possibly over a long period of time.
Mr Matthews said it was not uncommon for homes to test positive to methamphetamine residue.
In this particular home, the only areas that did not return high readings were in the dining room and one of the bathrooms.
Ms Turner said she had never been so sick as she had been in the house, with her 13-year-old son breaking out in rashes and blisters.
After inspecting the property, Flinders University Adjunct Lecturer Dr Jackie Wright, who has published research into the health effects due to the exposure of illicit drugs, advised the Turners: "(This) property … is significantly contaminated and is unsafe for occupancy. It is strongly advised that you and your family move out of the property immediately.
"The property is unsuitable for any residential use, even short-term use, until it has been
The family broke lease mid-July and lived in Brisbane for a short period of time with Mr Turner's parents before returning to the Gold Coast to live at Ashmore.
Mr Turner said he had the house tested for methamphetamine residue and claimed a former real estate agent said the previous tenants had been evicted by rental agency The Professionals Bundall, for using drugs.
However, The Professionals Bundall partner Kim Richards denied this, saying the former tenants had been told to leave after failing to pay their rent on time.
Ms Richards said the home would be cleaned by professionals to get rid of the residue so it would be safe to lease out once more. The Gold Coast City Council was also monitoring the situation.
"We can't prove the previous tenant did this … or who has smoked that drug in the property," she said.
"It came to us as a complete shock to us and the owners."
Ms Richards said they reimbursed the family's rent one month.
THE PROBLEM ON THE GOLD COAST
A COMPANY testing for methamphetamine residue in homes says the Gold Coast is a hot spot for high readings.
Meth Screen managing director Ryan Matthews said more than 50 per cent of houses tested since his business began two years ago recorded levels above the standard guidelines of 0.5 micrograms.
"There's a lot of people using ice on the Gold Coast. It's definitely a hot spot," he said.
"We are going to houses with a level of suspicion already … but it is very prevalent.
"These people don't use it on the streets, they're using in the property."
Mr Matthews said ice use inside homes was an unseen side of society - and still had the potential to affect others when the next tenants moved in.
It was difficult to determine whether ice had been used inside a home, he said.
"There are no physical signs, no odours, nothing.
"People just aren't aware. There's hundreds of tenants moving into properties that have been contaminated.
"Until you do a screening you just don't know."