A Hastings family is unsure when they will be allowed back into their rental home after asbestos was allegedly waterblasted off its roof and onto the lawn by a contractor.
Anthony Manley his wife, Natalie and three children, aged 3, 6 and 10 say they now have no choice but to stay in a hotel for their own safety.
A WorkSafe spokesperson said work had stopped on the site after an anonymous tip-off about "spraying on the roof".
Testing had identified the presence of asbestos, the spokesperson said.
"We have issued a prohibition notice on the site. This notice prohibits work taking place until the asbestos is safely removed.
"WorkSafe, the local councils and the DHB are working together with the building owner and tenants to safely remove the asbestos and ensure the property and neighbouring properties are safe."
The Ministry of Health advise people to never use water blasting to clean an asbestos surface, to avoid releasing harmful fibres.
Instead, a low-pressure water system and a soft brush should be used for removal in outdoor areas.
A high-pressure water spray may be used for fire-fighting or prevention purposes, or to clear or prevent blockages in waste water or water pipe networks.
In specific instances a high-pressure water spray may be used in a relevant approved method for managing risk associated with asbestos.
The Manleys/' garden is now covered in black polythene, with the contaminated grass set to be ripped up.
"The hedge has to come out, all the plants have to come out and all the kids toys have to be dumped," Manley said.
He said their Auckland-based landlord knew the roof had asbestos and hired a contractor because they wanted to seal the surface of it to ensure it did not become airborne.
They feel their landlord took all the precautions necessary, and the blame instead falls on the contractor.
The contractor refused to comment when contacted by Hawke's Bay Today.
From when the contractor began working last Monday, he did not take into account the severity of his actions, Manley claimed
"My wife spoke to him and he said it was just paint coming off. But when she queried him about using a high pressure water blaster and whether it was safe, he said don't worry about it."
The next day, the Manleys claimed, he started painting the roof at 5.50am.
"He obviously knew he stuffed up somewhere along the line ... He said that he wished he didn't do the job as it was a 'big mess'."
Manley alleges they were told by the contractor it would be safe to "mow it into the ground" and he took no safety precautions, despite mentioning he would charge the landlord more for removing the asbestos.
Manley and his family moved in to the property six months ago.
"It is a horrible thing that has happened. Everyone has been fantastic, it really is just the contractor that has messed up majorly," Natalie claimed.
She said their landlord was paying for them to stay in a hotel.
"We are lucky in that we have such a fantastic landlord and obviously with tenancy laws we don't have to pay rent while we aren't there, but money wise it has made an impact and it has stressed the kids out."
Hawke's Bay District Health Board said its health protection team was alerted to the incident by Worksafe.
Medical Officer of Health Dr Nicholas Jones said householders were advised that while it was extremely unlikely there was any significant health risks to them, they should keep windows that faced the property in question closed until cleanup of the residue had occurred.
Householders nearby were also instructed to re-wash clothing that may have been outside, as well as any fruit or vegetables grown in the garden before cooking or eating raw.
Dr Jones said anyone concerned about their health were encouraged to call a member of the DHB 's health protection team or contact their family doctor.
Ministry of Health information about asbestos had been shared with neighbours, he said.
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral made up of many small fibres that are very strong and are highly resistant to heat, fire, chemicals and wear.
Asbestos was mainly imported and used before the 1980s. Once the health risks of
asbestos were known, its use was gradually stopped, and other materials replaced it.
However, products and appliances with asbestos content may still be around,
particularly in homes built before 1984.
Intact asbestos-containing material is not a risk merely by its presence. However, potential health problems occur if asbestos fibres become airborne.
"Asbestos is a proven human carcinogen, and all forms of asbestos can cause cancer," the Ministry of Health says.
"Asbestos causes cancer in a dose-dependent manner. The greater the exposure, and the longer the time of exposure, the greater the risk of developing an asbestos-related disease."
It is recommended to keep exposure to asbestos as low as possible.