Is Asphalt Roofing Toxic

Is Asphalt Roofing Toxic
  • Author: Amanda Arnold
  • Posted On: February 8, 2022
  • Updated On: August 21, 2023

Choosing the appropriate roofing shingles for your roof can be a difficult undertaking since there are many different types of shingles available these days. Aside from the style, cost, and durability of the roofing materials, homeowners are concerned about the pollutants present.

As a result, it’s logical that a homeowner might wonder if roofing shingles are poisonous.

The toxicity of roof shingle materials has become a legitimate issue for homeowners, especially in the aftermath of asbestos removal programs that have proved how dangerous construction materials can be.

The petroleum-based compounds used to create asphalt shingles are the principal pollutant of concern in modern roof shingles. It’s been shown that these shingles emit dissolved organic carbon, which can obstruct rainwater collection.

In this post, we’ll look at how to safely install and remove roofing materials, particularly old shingles composed of compounds that are thought to be more harmful than newer equivalents.

Why Do Shingles Get Toxic?

Modern shingles can be hazardous during installation, but they’re normally not harmful unless you’re collecting drinkable rainwater from the roof; chemical elements in the tiles can get into the run-off water.

Aside from that, shingles aren’t always harmful. The dust stirred up during the removal procedure is the most serious health threat from any modern roof shingle.

Lead is present in high concentrations in the water that flows off your roof and into your yard and garden, making it poisonous. Asphalt shingles aren’t made to be recycled. The hazardous compounds found in asphalt shingles are key causes for their non-recyclability.

What Is The Basic Construction Material Of Shingles?

Metal, plastic, wood and composite materials like fiber cement and asphalt shingles are all used to make shingles. Ceramic roof tiles are still commonly referred to as tiles in some parts of Asia.

There are two types of asphalt shingles: organic and fiberglass: This shingle is waterproof because of asphalt coating, which contains mineral fillers. Organic shingles are more durable than fiberglass shingles, but they are also more flammable and thus more fire-prone.

Some people believe that asphalt shingles are hazardous because the product itself is unsafe. Yes, hazardous gases are released when the asphalt is burned or heated, but otherwise, this material is quite innocuous.

What Are The Effects Of Toxic Shingles On The Pets?

If your outdoor pet lives in a shingled structure, you might be concerned about the toxicity of shingles to your pets. There’s no need to be concerned that the shingles on your chicken coop will hurt your chicks or that your cat will be allergic to the materials on your roof because modern roofing shingles do not emit dangerous gases.

Animals cannot eat and digest the shingles, just like they should not digest any other building materials or non-edible things you may have in your yard. So, if you see shingle granules or a blown-off roof shingle on your property, remove it before your dog starts gnawing on it.

Handling The Shingles With Asbestos Is Dangerous

When removing old roof shingles from home, be aware that they may be hazardous, especially true of asbestos-containing shingles. If you’re planning to replace shingles, check sure there’s no asbestos present.

When asbestos-containing materials degrade and become airborne, it poses a health risk to humans; in this state, the mineral is classified as a carcinogen. Asbestos fibers collect mostly in the lungs; former asbestos workers frequently suffer from scarred lungs to illustrate how asbestos can impact the body.

Fortunately, the shingles do not represent a problem until they break down and release the dangerous fibers. Local regulations may require you to engage a qualified contractor to remove asbestos-containing materials because of the possible dangers of handling the substance.

Don’t Use Rainwater Collected On The Shingles For Drinking

When collecting rainwater, you need to take a few measures. Rainwater is not designed to be consumed. Rainwater is referred to as greywater, and it is commonly used to water plants and do other home tasks. If you plan to drink the rainwater collected on your asphalt roof, you’ll need to filter it just like any other roof.

Asphalt shingles are environmentally friendly. They’re genuinely recyclable! When asphalt shingles are removed, they are used for road repairs.

How To Dispose The Affected Shingles?

Asphalt shingles could be safely disposed of by sending them to a recycling center. These tiles will be used to make hot mix asphalt, which will be utilized on roads. Asphalt shingles can be disposed of in this manner, which helps to save landfill space.

It also reduces the number of fresh materials required to finish road construction projects. Before committing to a certain project plan, you should contact the recycling facilities in your area. Recycling centers have different policies, with some accepting asphalt shingles for free and others charging a fee.


Roof shingles are not very dangerous in their current state fastened to your home. Collecting rainwater as a source of drinkable water within the house is the major cause for concern.

Because of the dissolved organic carbon content in run-off water from asphalt shingles, you should consider using a water treatment method other than chlorine to disinfect the water in this case.

Extreme caution should be exercised when removing and installing roof shingles because construction dust can become a major issue. You should also test your roof shingles for asbestos, particularly if you’re repairing an old house with a roof that hasn’t been treated in decades.

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Author: Amanda Arnold

Amanda has been working with ConstructionHow since 2021. Her experience spans over 5 years in the creative niche such as home decor and trends, landscaping, renovations, and custom architectural values. As a home designer expert, she has a keen eye for the latest home improvement trends with accurate facts that readers find impossible to ignore. Being invested in home-building trends is how she has gained her lucrative expertise exploring more to bring a positive ambiance for all homeowners (and even tenants!). Currently, she lives in a beautiful beach home, a source of fascination for her.