Asbestos in Roof Flashing

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As you probably know, asbestos has been used for decades in all sorts of applications, many of which were intended to make our lives safer. It was used as insulation to protect homes, in kitchen utensils to keep fragile hands cool, and even used in protective garments. Asbestos also found a prominent place in the roofing industry, especially in base flashing.

Base flashing is used to seal roofs. Wherever there’s a vertical joint on the roof, such as a corner or where the roof attaches to the wall of a house, base flashing is used to seal the house from leakage and to greater stabilize the roof. It’s a vital aspect of the roof, no one’s debating that. When asbestos was used to make base flashing, however, everyone involved was put at risk.

Those manufacturing the asbestos base flashing were exposed to the microscopic fibers and most likely inhaled them. These fibers may have stuck to their clothes and were taken home to be spread to the worker’s family. If the base flashing was damaged in any way during installation then people that installed roofing could potentially be exposed to the asbestos fibers, People removing roofs suffer from the same potential problem.

Even the homeowner could be exposed, should they decide to make their own home repairs, or they come into contact with a piece of damaged base flashing. Any way you look at it, the results are bad. Exposure to asbestos, at any level, can cause serious bodily harm.

Asbestos exposure can cause asbestosis, an inflammation of the lungs that can lead to heart failure. It can also cause many different types of cancer to develop, such as mesothelioma, which is cancer of the membranes surrounding, the heart, lungs or abdomen. Symptoms of mesothelioma do not present themselves until the advanced stages of the disease, making early diagnosis difficult and the treatment outlook grim.

If you have worked around asbestos at any time in your life, it is important you consult your physician about the damage this exposure may have caused. It is better to be safe than sorry, after all. If you are thinking about performing any home repairs, and think there may be asbestos base flashing or any other asbestos-containing product in your home, consult a professional. Whatever you do, do not attempt to remove the asbestos yourself.