The Canterbury Medical Officer of Health says an opportunity to remove asbestos from earthquake-damaged homes has been wasted.
If contractors find undisturbed asbestos in a building, the law only requires it be contained. However, any asbestos does need to be removed and disposed of if it has been damaged.
Medical officer of health Dr Alistair Humphrey said the rebuilding of Christchurch since the 2011 earthquake could have been a chance to get rid of the toxic material entirely, but that opportunity has not been taken.
However, he believed that a lot of homeowners would be electing to have the asbestos removed anyway.
Dr Humphrey estimates it would cost about $20,000 to remove asbestos from an average-size three-bedroom house.