Lead can have many subtle, yet detrimental long term health effects such as increased blood pressure, decreased brain function or kidney function.
Classified as a cumulative poison, when lead is inhaled, ingested or absorbed through the skin it proves to be toxic to virtually every human organ.
Roof installers are among those who are exposed to serious health risks from handling lead flashing. Lead is absorbed into the blood from contact and inhalation of toxic lead dust.
Non-profit community organisation, Lead Education and Abatement Design Group
(LEAD) provides useful tips on protecting workers such as roof installers when working with lead. These include:
- wearing protective work clothing (eg. respirator, safety glasses, gloves)
- never eat, drink, or smoke in the work area - avoid contamination
- maintaining a high standard of personal hygiene
- keeping dirty work clothes and shoes in a separate bag from your clean clothes
- using hand wipes for use prior to eating, drinking or smoking
Roofing installers who work with roof flashings now have an alternative.
Companies such as Wakaflex
have developed lead-free roof flashings
which incorporate inert qualities and non-toxic materials. This means that it can be installed with most roofing materials and will not contaminate any harvested run-off water for tanks and grey-water systems and is therefore safer for the installer, home owner and the environment.
manufacture a range of roof flashing strips
which provide fast and effective weatherproofing for any roof project. These versatile, lead-free roof flashing strips are malleable and stretchable, making them effective on all roofing surfaces. It is also a lightweight and sustainable solution, available in a range of sheets and forms in Terracotta, Black or Grey.
Fast Flash is a self-adhesive, workable lead replacement from DEKS. A suitable alternative to working in a lead-free environment, Fast Flash is a lightweight weatherproof flashing
that consists of aluminium stretch netting cast in environmentally friendly polymer rubber. Fast Flash is ideal for projects requiring a quick and secure flashing solution. Fast Flash can be installed on roofs with a slope of minimum 5° and on almost all roof materials.
PERFORM from DEKS is a lead-free flexible roof flashing sheet
that offers the same properties and the same tightness as lead. With great form stability, PERFORM is available in a range of rolls and sheets in various sizes.
Such lead-free roof flashings are non-toxic, providing a save environment for roof installers.