Testing Methodology

Test Principle

DAT uses MMC Forensic Narcotic Methamphetamine Tests. Each test is a lateral flow chromatographic immunoassay, which provides qualitative detection of the illicit drug and associated contaminant residue.

Surface samples for each location are taken by way of cotton swab and mixed in buffer solution for testing.

Accuracy & Quality Control

Each test has an average sensitivity of <300ng/ml buffer solution or <5 parts per million. The accuracy of the tests has been verified by way of Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry. Each test contains an internal procedural control to confirm the device is operating correctly.

General Comments & Advice

The residual contamination arising from illicit drug manufacture carried out in clandestine drug laboratories presents a serious risk to human and environmental health.

Real estate agents, property managers, property owners and tenants alike should make themselves aware of the indicators and risks associated with clandestine drug laboratories.

If you cannot readily identify laboratory indicators or are not aware of the risks please contact DAT to discuss available education options.

Interpretation of Test Results

After applying the buffer solution containing the location sample to the test device, the results are read as follows:

Presence of the Control Line (C) indicates the device is functioning correctly.


Absence of the Test Line (T) indicates a positive test or the presence of drug residue/contaminant.


Presence of the Test Line (T) indicate a negative test or absence of drug residue/contaminant.


Absence of both Test (T) and Control (C) Lines indicate an invalid test.

NOTE: Any sign of a red line in the ''T" area will be a pass - no matter how faint (2 minutes to process [no longer]). The "C" line will always be darker than the ''T'' line.

Once the Immunoassay Screen tests come back as Positive, samples are then taken to gauge the level of methamphetamine present at the address.

These samples are then sent to Hill Laboratories to find the actual contamination level. Hills Laboratories is an IANZ accredited laboratory operating to NZS 8510:2017 standard.

The analysis of the individual samples taken are then confirmed and the methamphetamine level and its precursors if present in the house, are provided to DAT in an easy to understand, Analysis Report.

If these levels exceed the NZ Ministry of Health Guidelines standard (1.50μg/100cm²) in any of the areas tested within the property, then the 2017 Ministry of Health Guidelines for meth lab clean up establish that for any contamination level above 1.50μg/100cm² it be recommended that a property be subject to decontamination.