At AEI Decon, we often hear from folks wondering how to read their home methamphetamine test results. Confusion is a reasonable reaction, too, given that most people don’t spend their leisure time studying lab reports. Well, except for the die-hard science buffs. (Or maybe the folks bent on a bit of intellectual masochism.)
But don’t worry. Once it’s broken down into manageable pieces, understanding your results isn’t all that tricky. And our two-part visual guide is here to make it even easier.
Now, most of the tests we see come from ALS Global, so we’ll use one of their reports as our example. The content should be fairly standard, though, as long as your test is NIOSH compliant. (We’ll explain more about that in the next section.) However, if your results have nothing in common with this guide (or you’re still having trouble reading them), you may want to seek the help of a Certified Decontamination Specialist in your area.
(To clarify, this information is specific to laboratory testing kits. We don’t generally recommend instant tests since they are, in our experience, fairly inaccurate.)
Home Methamphetamine Test: Reading the Results
Determining the Type of Test
To start us off, you’ll want to note the type of test you’re dealing with. You may know this already, especially if you bought the test yourself. If not, you can always review the method and instrument section on your report.
“Method” refers to the overall process for collecting and analyzing your sample. You’ll notice the method here is NIOSH 9111. Simply put, NIOSH stands for The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. It’s part of the CDC and works closely with OSHA. It also conducts and oversees research related to the workplace.
The short version of that is NIOSH informs best practices for testing harmful substances like meth. NIOSH 9111, however, is an approved (and perhaps the gold standard) sampling method for meth.
“Instrument,” on the other hand, refers to the type of analysis performed by the lab. The instrument here was LCMS01. That means the lab processed this sample via a liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry, which allows the lab to separate and identify the present molecules. It is also the required analysis for all NIOSH 9111 compliant tests.
Sampling Parameter: Area
When performing a test, samplers swab various sections in a property with areas of 100cm². So, if the Sampling Parameter Area is 300cm², then the test consists of the three areas swabbed on the same sample – or a 3-point composite sample.
The vast majority of home methamphetamine tests are composite samples since they are less expensive than testing individual areas with separate samples. And, thanks to the law of averages, a composite sample also gives us a useful piece to the puzzle of how much meth is in the property – and what decontamination steps make sense.
You see, it isn’t possible to test every square inch of a building. But, testing multiple areas on the same sample and averaging the total amount of meth by the area tested, we can gain an idea of how much meth (what ratio) we’re dealing with. Now, it’s not uncommon for one area of a house to test higher than another, so how much we rely on these readings does vary by circumstance.
This is part of why we generally recommend hiring a professional when testing your home. They know where and how to test to give a clear idea of what a property needs.
Contact a Certified Decontamination Specialist
Next week, we’ll continue Part Two of our guide on home methamphetamine tests. If you need help in the meantime, feel free to contact a Certified Decontamination Specialist in your area. They have the training to help with all your testing and decontamination needs. If you’re in Utah, call us. AEI Decon is Utah’s number one meth removal company. Give us a call at (801) 888-6698.