The Importance of Testing Roofing Materials for Asbestos Before Starting Roof Demolition, Repair or Replacement Projects

Every house and every building has a roof that will one day need to be repaired or replaced. These projects can be expensive, but are essential to prevent leaks that would otherwise allow moisture to enter the structure, damaging building materials, property, furniture, and even leading to mold growth in many case.

For roofs built up to the early 1980s, there is a significant safety issue that people need to be aware of. Unfortunately, asbestos was used in some roofing materials up to that time. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, asbestos fibers have been added during the production of roofing and cladding materials to strengthen them, increase their durability, and provide a limited amount of insulation and fireproofing. They list asphalt roofing felt, asphalt roofing shingles, cement roofing shingles, roof underlayment, sealants, and flashings as some of the roofing materials that may contain asbestos. .

“There are countless residential, commercial and institutional properties in all 50 states that still have asbestos-containing roofing materials,” said Joe Frasca, senior vice president of marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “Some of these materials may now be under other layers of newer roofing products.When they need to be removed for demolition or for a future roofing repair or replacement project, the asbestos fibers from these materials may be released into air and settle as dust.Over time, exposure to asbestos fibers can lead to lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis.These are all reasons why roofing materials and any other suspect material that may contain asbestos should be tested and in a number of circumstances this is also required by health and safety regulations.

In the United States and Canada, EMSL Analytical has dozens of laboratories that provide fast and affordable materials, industrial hygiene and environmental testing for asbestos. They also offer sampling supplies, easy-to-use test kits, and personal protective equipment (PPE) to help protect workers, owners, and the public.

To learn more about asbestos or other building science, labor, environmental, air quality, health and safety analysis services, please visit, call (800) 220-3675 or email [email protected] To access asbestos or other test kits, visit

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.

EMSL Analytical is one of the leading testing laboratories in the United States and Canada. EMSL is a nationally recognized provider specializing in rapid laboratory results for molds, bacteria, Legionella, USP 797, pathogens, asbestos, lead, soot, coal and ash from fires, VOCs, odors, radon, formaldehyde, indoor air quality, microbiology, environment, industrial hygiene, radiological products, food, beverages and consumer products, and materials testing services for the identification of unknown substances. EMSL is at the service of professionals and the general public. EMSL maintains an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulatory agencies, including but not limited to A2LA, AIHA-LAP, LLC (AIHA-LAP, LLC EMLAP, AIHA-LAP, LLC IHLAP, AIHA-LAP, LLC ELLAP), NVLAP, CDC ELITE, CPSC, CA ELAP, NY ELAP, TX DOH, NJDEP and several other state accrediting agencies. Please visit our website at for a full list of accreditations. Additionally, EMSL offers a wide range of sampling equipment and survey products for environmental professionals.

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