We were recently consulted regarding ways to clean out or remediate houses that have been sprayed with asbestos in the roof and had removal works carried out. Having been involved in a lot of sprayed asbestos removal works over the years you can’t imagine how difficult it is to remove every lump or fibre bundles of asbestos when it is in that form. It sticks to everything just from surface tension or static and will get into every crevice.
In commercial buildings you are dealing with steel and concrete which are easier to clean off but even when friable sprayed asbestos is removed from these surfaces a great deal of watered down pva glue is sprayed everywhere to stick down what is left.
In a residential house the very fine asbestos bundles will stick and lodge in the wood grain of roof beams, in the rough surfaces of brickwork and down inside brickwork into the walls. Then some time later you get a little bit of movement in the walls and skirting boards or the upper plaster skirting around a ceiling it will crack and move. Slowly hidden asbestos bundles edge out. This material will move on air gusts so even minor air movement will dislodge from smooth surfaces till it sticks somewhere maybe in curtains or behind the television cabinet, picture frames, bookshelves or in the carpet…
I agree with the decision to buy back the houses and demolish them and to quote a science fiction movie “its the only way to be sure” and that’s the point these houses in Canberra and elsewhere have got to.