Asbestos and Roofing
Roof Online Staff
“Asbestos Roofing” is any roofing material which contains asbestos fibers. Asbestos fibers are long, thin, naturally occurring mineral crystals, which used to be added to many roofing materials to increase strength, durability, rigidity, and especially fire-resistance.
Formerly common asbestos-containing roofing materials are fiber-cement shingles and roof panels, asphalt shingles and roll roofing, and asphaltic roofing cement. Many of these materials may be found in existing roofs installed before the mid-1980’s. Generally, roofing cement is the only roofing material currently permitted by regulation in the U.S. to be manufactured with asbestos fibers.
Useful Links for Asbestos and Roofing
1. General: The United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Asbestos page is the place to start for information about asbestos.
2. General: The OSHA Asbestos page provides much of the information you’re probably looking for, with links to applicable standards, health and safety resources, training courses, and other resources.
3. General: Asbestos: Homeowner Information – Roofing and Siding provides good basic information for homeowners. On the website of the Minnesota Department of Health.
5. General: “Asbestos Allowed in Some Roofing Materials” is an interesting article from 1999. “The Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in 1997 that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s standards do not pertain to asbestos-containing roof cements, coatings, and mastics.” On the website of the US Forest Service.
6. General: Health Effects: “Asbestos-Related Lung Diseases – Also known as Asbestosis, Mesothelioma” is a good page to start researching, with pertinent links to more detailed information. On the website of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI).
7. Regulations: EPA: “How EPA’s Asbestos Regulations Apply to Roofing Materials“. On the EPA website.
8. Regulations: EPA: “Overview of the Asbestos National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP)“. See this EPA page for detailed explanations, guidelines, and exceptions to the federal standards.
9. Regulations: OSHA: “1910.1001 – Asbestos” is one of the two primary applicable standards when removing asbestos-containing roofing material. Other OSHA standards will apply to any roofing work, of course.
10. Regulations: OSHA: “1926.1101 – Asbestos” is the other primary applicable standard covering asbestos-containing roofing material. Other OSHA standards will apply to any roofing work, of course.
12. Technical: “Applicability Of The Asbestos NESHAP To Asbestos Roofing Removal Operations” is an EPA document from 1994 that’s full of useful technical information about asbestos content in roofing materials. (NESHAP is the acronym used for the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants, the emission standards set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.)
13. Testing: If you have material samples that you’d like to get tested for asbestos, there is a state-by-state directory of accredited testing laboratories available on the website of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which is part of the US Department of Commerce. Find a lab near you to perform Asbestos Fiber Analysis (PLM Test Method). Also locates accredited labs in Canada.