Asbestos was among the highest utilised construction material over the 20th century before it was banned due asbestos risk to health concerns, which means if you live in an older home or work in an older building, it is highly likely to have asbestos contained within its structure, including the roofing.
Within the home, if your roof tiles or slates, or your guttering is made of asbestos, you may be wondering if it is safe to have around your family. The good news is that simply living in a home containing asbestos is not dangerous as long as the asbestos is in good condition.
The danger when it comes to living with asbestos falls whenever that asbestos is damaged or disturbed and the fibres are released into the breathable airspace. When these fibres are inhaled, they set about causing irreparable damage to your lungs and leading to potentially fatal health problems.
If your roof and gutters are in good condition, there is no cause for alarm or concern. Here are signs that your gutters may pose an asbestos risk.
Signs to look for
If you start to notice that your gutters are beginning to deteriorate or show signs of becoming brittle, this could begin the process of releasing these asbestos fibres into the breathable air.
Dust particles can begin to gather within your guttering and then become airborne when the wind blows. Exposure to the weather can also make your gutters deteriorate over time, especially in stormy climates such as heavy rainfall, lightning and debris blown around in harsh winds. This can result in your gutters breaking and releasing dangerous particles.
If you notice the paint on your guttering beginning to flake away, then it will not be protecting your guttering from the elements. This will inevitably result in them eventually breaking and releasing their fibres. You should repaint the guttering on occasion to ensure that they remain strong and protected but if the gutters are starting to weather then it may be time to have them removed & replaced.
Also, any overgrown weeds, shrubs and trees can cause damage to your gutters and allow them to deteriorate faster.
Should I remove asbestos gutters?
Although fully removing and replacing asbestos guttering can be expensive, it can be beneficial – although if it is in perfect condition it may be even more cost-effective to keep it in place and still be safe to live with.
If you do decide to have the harmful material removed DO NOT DO IT YOURSELF! Safe removal of any asbestos-containing materials in your home must be done by a licenced asbestos removal company that follow asbestos compliance guidelines and specialise in asbestos removal services only. Doing so yourself not only puts you and your family at a serious health risk, but you can also face heavy fines or hefty jail time for working against the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.