Think you have asbestos shingles? 3 things to know

Asbestos is a type of material made up of a variety of fibers that combine to create fire-resistant, durable building materials. It was used in older homes as a way to have inexpensive, durable materials that would last a long time. Before too long, it was discovered that asbestos is highly toxic to anyone that inhales those fibers. If you think you might have asbestos shingles on your roof, here are some things to know about them.

Asbestos Poses a Lot of Dangers 

The first thing you need to understand is just how toxic and dangerous asbestos itself can be. If you or anyone in your family is exposed to the fibers in your asbestos shingles, it can cause serious lung conditions and diseases, including cancer. Any exposure to the fibers put you at risk, regardless of the circumstances. As long as those fibers get disturbed, the dust can be accidentally inhaled. Mesothelioma is one of the more serious cancers that you can get from asbestos, which isn't curable and affects the lining of your lungs. If you smoke cigarettes, you have a much higher risk of asbestos exposure and the development of lung cancer from the fibers.

The Fibers Must Be Released

While this is a scary concept if you think you have asbestos in your shingles or other areas of your home, remember that the fibers in those materials must be released. This is usually only done during renovations or home repairs. For example, you might decide that you want to replace some older shingles that are starting to look worn, going up to the roof and pulling off shingles could cause them to break into pieces, which means those fibers could come out and be inhaled. However, you are also at risk if the shingles are disturbed during a major storm, such as a big hurricane. If you have any doubt about the condition of the shingles, it is best to call someone to inspect and remove the asbestos materials.

You Should Never Remove Them On Your Own

One of the most important things to know about asbestos is that there is virtually no way to remove them safely on your own. Even if you keep the shingles wet, cover your face and nose, and are extremely careful, there is still a risk of being exposed. It is best that you call a professional asbestos abatement company. They will first test the shingles to see if they contain asbestos. If they do, you will be asked to stay away from the area while they safely remove the shingles.