The beginning of the end of asbestos-containing roofing material (ACRM) installation on buildings in the U.S. started about 30 years ago, and the manufacture of most ACRM phased out around the same time. Accordingly, the inventory of buildings currently protected by roof systems or materials that contain asbestos fibers is diminishing. For many roofing contractors, bidding on and undertaking an ACRM removal project has become a rare occurrence.
Regardless of the frequency of the occurrence, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations related to removing or disturbing ACRM still demand roofing contractor compliance, and a number of state and local asbestos regulatory actions pose further compliance challenges to those performing ACRM removal.
Asbestos is a term given to a group of fibrous minerals that were used widely in a number of products, including roofing materials, because of their strength, durability and heat resistance. Before the late 1970s and early 1980s, asbestos commonly was used in roofing felts, bituminous flashings, roof coatings, mastics and cements, asbestos-cement shingles, transite panels, and, more rarely, asphalt shingles and felt-based vapor retarders.