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Asbestos was a popular fire-proofing material once used in thousands of commercial and consumer products. It wasn’t until the late 1970’s that the use of asbestos was banned after the Environmental Protection Agency classified it as a known carcinogen. By that time, however, asbestos had been widely used in a large number of construction products, including roofing products, and was a potential source of great harm to those who came in contact with it.

Asbestos in Roofing Products and Other Building Materials

Asbestos was used in roofing products from the 1920’s through the early 80’s. Its use was so widespread that we now know asbestos-containing materials (products classified as containing at least 1% asbestos) can be found in nearly 80% of structures built prior to 1981. Some roofing products, like asbestos cement roofing, have a life expectancy of 30-50 years so it is likely that asbestos hazards still exist with roof structures that are in place today.

Asbestos was a popular component of many building materials because it was found to be extremely versatile and resistant to heat transfer. Because roofing needs to provide insulation and must be resistant to fire, asbestos was often added to roofing products to serve this purpose.

Asbestos was also extremely durable, making it ideal as a reinforcement component in glues, mortars, and finishing cements. It is also resistant to corrosion and weathering and was used to protect against temperature extremes in roofing material. In most cases, asbestos only comprised 30% or less of a given roofing product or other compound and was mainly added as a reinforcement material.

While asbestos was found in many different types of roofing products such as roofing shingles, asphalt roll roofing, cement roofing and roofing felt, it could also be found in other building products such as pipe covering, various insulation materials, drywall, siding, and even foundation cement compounds.

Roofing Products Containing Asbestos

The following partial list of roofing products were known to contain asbestos:

Product Name Start Year End Year
Bondex Permaroof
Fibreboard Pabco Roll Roofing 1941 1971
Flintkote Static Asphalt Fibrated Roofing
GAF Ruberoid Roofing Asphalt
Johns Manville Barge Roofing
Johns Manville Built-Up Roofing
Johns Manville Roofing Products
Johns Manville Transite Roofing 1906 1975
National Gypsum 35 lb Asbestos Roofing Jacket
National Gypsum Asbestone Roofing
National Gypsum Corrugated “400” Siding and Roofing Material
United States Gypsum Roofing Products 1937 1975

Hazards Associated with Asbestos Roofing Products

While asbestos exhibited many powerful characteristics as described above, it also possessed other attributes that made it a very harmful substance. One of the most harmful attributes of asbestos was its microscopic fibers. Asbestos fibers can float freely through the air, particularly when asbestos-containing materials are disturbed, and can be easily inhaled by those in close proximity. Many who inhaled asbestos fibers were not even aware of the hazards they were being exposed to.

When inhaled, asbestos fibers lodge in the outer tissue linings of the lung and abdomen, a thin layer of cells known as the mesothelium. These lubricating membranes are integral to internal organ function. Over time, however, asbestos inflammation on the surface of these membranes can cause scar tissue plaques and an asbestos cancer known as mesothelioma. Many who worked with asbestos materials, particularly those who repaired, modified, or replaced older asbestos materials, may have been harmfully exposed to the material and are at risk to develop respiratory complications as a result of this exposure.

Learn More About Compensation for Asbestos-Related Injury

Fortunately, those diagnosed with mesothelioma or other asbestos-related health complications may be eligible for compensation for their injuries. We now know that many asbestos product manufacturers were aware of the hazards that their products posed. Despite this, they continued to manufacture products with asbestos and expose hundreds of thousands to the deadly material without their knowing.

Many who have been wrongfully harmed by this substance have turned to a mesothelioma lawyer for help in obtaining compensation for their injuries. To find out more about mesothelioma and how to receive compensation for asbestos-related disease, please fill out the brief form on this page and we’ll send our complimentary mesothelioma information packet to you at no cost.

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