Rebel Roofing ACT

Is Asbestos Roofing Harmful? Health Hazards

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Most people are aware of the harmful effects of asbestos roofing. People living in homes constructed before 1983 are familiar with the challenges posed by asbestos material.  If you have been to a countryside village in Australia you must be aware of the harmful effects of asbestos material used in roofing and siding.

Asbestos is more than just a fancy word, it was considered a miracle material back in the day due to its durability and heat resistant properties. In 1930, scientists found out about the serious health hazards of asbestos roofing. Since then it has become a villain for many and got banned by many countries. 

If you are someone who has inherited grandma’s old house you need to read this article. We will explore all the details related to asbestos roofing and its harmful effects. At the end of this article, we will tell you simple easy steps to become asbestos-free.

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos, once considered a miracle mineral, is made of tiny fibres. The durability of asbestos made it so popular back in the day. Because of its heat resistance properties, it was used in everything from insulation to roofing material

All of the asbestos minerals’ glory was short-lived. Scientists found out that fibers in asbestos are dangerous to inhale. The tiny fibers spread in the air and can easily make their way into your lungs and cause havoc within.

Is Asbestos Roofing Harmful?

Asbestos is a material that, when disturbed, releases tiny fibers into the air.  These fibers are so small you can’t see them, but if you breathe them in, they can cause damage to your lungs. Inhaling asbestos fibers, especially from damaged roofing, can lead to serious health problems, including lung cancer.

Long term exposure of asbestos leads to scarring of lungs. Symptoms of asbestos-related diseases typically take 20 to 60 years to appear. This is why damaged asbestos roofing is considered harmful. In Australia, use of this silent killer was banned in 2003

Many older houses’ roofs still contain it and due to this, it should be managed in a way that its fibers can’t get airborne, or in some cases, it’s better to remove it completely.

Common Asbestos Roofing Health Hazards

Exposure to harmful fibers of asbestos can lead to serious health concerns. These fibres get into your lungs and long term exposure to them can even cause Lung Cancer. Long term exposure of asbestos fibers causes scarring of lungs which then eventually causes  Asbestosis. 

Short exposure to asbestos can be hazardous. These microscopic fibers, when inhaled, can remain in your lungs for decades. Over time, they irritate and scar lung tissue, potentially leading to debilitating illnesses like mesothelioma and lung cancer.

How do I know if my roofing or siding contains asbestos?

After knowing about asbestos and its effects you must want to know if your house roof or siding is made up of it. 

Go through these 5 points with which you can easily determine if your roofing contains asbestos.

Building Age:

We know asbestos was considered a miracle mineral in the past, so if your house was constructed in the late 1970’s there’s a high probability of asbestos-containing material being used.

Visual Inspection:

The roof containing asbestos looks like corrugated cement sheets, while the siding resembles a textured material. This is not highly recommended though so it’s better to seek professional help.

Professional Help:

This is the best way to see if your roof or siding contains asbestos. Seek help from a professional asbestos inspector. They will take samples and analyse them in labs to identify asbestos fibers. If you live in a house that was constructed 50 years back, you should hire a qualified asbestos inspector.

Building Records:

Check the construction documents and see if the material used in the making contains asbestos material. This is not again a very good approach as houses go under renovations and maybe while renovating asbestos-containing material is used.

Asbestos Testing Kits:

If you want to DIY your inspection process, you can buy asbestos testing kits. The testing kits come with a manual, follow them carefully. If the test results come back positive, contact a professional so he can safely remove it.

How to safely remove Asbestos Roofing and siding?

Removing asbestos is a tedious task and strict precautions should be taken before starting the removal process. We know it can cause serious damage to our lungs if exposed to air. 

Hire a licensed contractor to safely remove asbestos roofing and siding. To minimise the side effects of asbestos removal from roofs and siding, hire roofing experts.

Thorough Assessment:

Before starting the actual process of removing, roofing inspectors determine the areas which contain asbestos material. After identifying the area, teams proceed with the removal process.

Approval for Removal:

To conduct a successful process, roofing companies in Australia follow local regulatory standards. This step is very important as it ensures the safety of workers and streamlines the overall removal process.

Restrict the Work Zone:

Seal the work zone area with barriers and prohibit the entrance of anyone without safety gear. This step is crucial to prevent accidents and also limit the exposure of unauthorised personnel to asbestos fibers.

Safety Precautions:

Make sure all the people involved in the process are wearing personal protection equipment. The gears should have respirators with HEPA filters to prevent the inhalation of asbestos fibers.

Make the Material Wet:

To minimise the release of airborne fibers wet the material using a gentle mist of water. Try not to use high-pressure water sprays as doing so can disperse the fibers into the air. We at Rebel Roofing use a polyvinyl acetate solution so the material remains wet until it is disposed of.

Safe Removal:

Once the material is soaked,  remove the material using shovels, and pry bars to minimise the release of asbestos fibers into the air. Using the right tools will prevent additional damage.

Proper Wastage Methods:

Dispose of all the material containing asbestos into heavy-duty plastic bags. To further prevent the spread of fibers use double plastic bags and seal them with duct tape.

Sterlize the Area:

Cleaning the work area is very crucial after the removal. The Rebel roofing team uses HEPA vacuuming to prevent the spread of this toxic material. The decontamination process will further remove residual asbestos fibers.

Proper Disposal:

Make sure the plastic bags containing waste go to a remote facility. Make sure the roofing company you have hired is following the local regulatory standard for asbestos disposal.

Clearance Test:

We do not reopen the area before conducting a final clearance test. If the asbestos fibers are below regulatory limits it is safe to open the area. At this point remove the work zone sign or any barriers.

Which home roofing and siding products contain asbestos?


  1. Asphalt shingles with asbestos reinforcement.
  2. Cement roofing tiles containing asbestos fibers.
  3. Corrugated asbestos cement sheets used in roofing applications.


  1. Asbestos cement siding, commonly known as “transite”.
  2. Vinyl siding with asbestos filler material.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Asbestos poses a significant health risk due to its fibrous nature, which can easily become airborne when disturbed. When inhaled, these microscopic fibers can lodge in the lungs, causing a range of serious health problems over time.

Asbestos exposure has been linked to conditions such as lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis. 

Asbestos is not used in hormones. Today, many countries have banned or strictly regulated the use of asbestos, particularly in products that could potentially release its fibers into the air, posing health risks to individuals.

The initial signs of asbestos poisoning can be subtle and often go unnoticed, as symptoms may not manifest until years or even decades after exposure. Common early indicators include persistent coughing, chest pain, and shortness of breath. 

Get in Touch

Ready to discuss your Roofing needs? Reach out to Rebel Roofing ACT today. Our friendly team is here to answer questions, address concerns, and ensure your Canberra home gets the top-notch service it deserves.