A street in Sydney’s northern beaches was forced into lockdown after contractors used a pressure-hose on a roof laden in asbestos. 

Hazmat crews were called to Mariposa Road in Bilgola Plateau after residents noticed dangerous clouds of particles floating in the area, which they likened to snow.

“The dogs were covered in asbestos, the whole backyard covered in asbestos,” a local woman told 9 News.

The two private cleaning contractors – who pressure-hosed the asbestos-ridden roof – were employed by a homeowner. They were reportedly unlicensed and uninsured.

The cost of the operation is expected to be in excess of half a million dollars and could take weeks to fully clean.

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Asbestos was commonly used to insulate homes from the 1940s until 1987. Breathing in asbestos fibres can cause asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.