Asbestos in your Roofing

Once a very popular building material, asbestos was widely used in properties built from the 1960s to the mid 1980s.

Since 1993, products and building materials containing asbestos have been banned. Any properties built after this date are highly unlikely to include this hazardous material in their construction. If your home was built before 1993, however, you may have asbestos materials present in your roofing and siding.

Why You Should Be Concerned About Asbestos

When materials containing asbestos become worn or damaged, they can release fibres into the air which, if ingested deep into the lung, may linger for a long time, causing permanent damage to health. Breathing in high levels of fibres containing asbestos is associated with several serious and fatal lung disease:

  • Pleural thickening - The pleura – the lining of the lung – swells and thickens. Pleural thickening is associated with heavy asbestos exposure. If the condition worsens, the lung can become squeezed; this results in chest discomfort and difficulty breathing.
  • Asbestosis - Asbestosis, a condition in which scarring of the lung, occurs following heavy exposure to asbestos. This condition can lead to progressive shortness of breath. In severe cases, it can be fatal.
  • Asbestos-related lung cancer - One of the most fatal diseases associated with prolonged asbestos exposure, asbestos-related lung cancer is the same type of cancer caused by smoking.
  • Mesothelioma - This type of cancer affects the lining, or pleura, of the lung and the lining of the lower digestive tract (the peritoneum). Mesothelioma is directly related to asbestos exposure. By the time most cases are diagnosed, the disease is fatal.

As you can see from the list above, there are many reasons to be concerned about asbestos in your home. While exposure to low levels of asbestos fibres is unlikely to harm your health, you should seek the advice of a professional if you have damaged asbestos materials in your home.

Many lung diseases don’t produce symptoms right away. Once diagnosed, however, it’s often too late to treat the condition. If you suspect you have asbestos in your home, you need to protect yourself right away.

What to Do If You Have Asbestos in Your Roofing

Asbestos roofs are only hazardous if fibres are breathed in or ingested. In general, solid asbestos roofing material poses a low risk. If the surface becomes damaged, however, asbestos fibres can be released. The greatest risk with asbestos roofing arises when the material is improperly removed and disposed of. If asbestos roofing is removed by an untrained contractor, the material may release dust that can put you and your family’s health at risk.

Asbestos roofing materials must be removed by a contractor who holds a special government-issued license. Licensed contractors must abide by specific regulations to ensure the safe removal and disposal of asbestos.

If you suspect there is asbestos in your home, you must take extra care when doing any DIY work. Do not attempt projects involving lagging and insulation boards or sprayed asbestos. Whenever possible, avoid drilling, sanding or any other activity that causes dust. Asbestos-containing material that is in good condition should be left undisturbed.

If you think you have products or materials containing asbestos in your house and are unsure how it should be handled, seek the advice of a professional. Doing so could save your family’s life.

Morgan Asphalte are the leading providers of roofing services across London and the South East. We excel in all roofing types, including asphalt, felt, slate, tiled, aluminium, lead, liquid and singly ply systems, with repairs and insulation carried out at competitive rates.

Get in touch today to find out more.

Posted on 12 February 2015 in Roof Safety.

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