We’re all aware that plastic roofing is becoming a serious problem for home buyers, with many cities now restricting its use or imposing fines on the manufacturers that produce it.
And while the number of people who suffer burns from the plastic is on the rise, we’re not quite sure what the long-term consequences are for us all.
A new study by researchers from University College London (UCL) has examined the long term health effects of plastic roof coverings and found that while most people will eventually benefit from plastic roof covering, some will still have to pay a price for it in the long run.
“We wanted to understand how plastic roof insulating material would affect the health of the people we were interested in studying,” Dr Caroline Smith, lead author from the UCL Department of Environmental Health and Environment, said.
“The study focused on the health outcomes of people exposed to plastic roof material in a residential setting.”
The research was published in the journal PLOS ONE.
The team compared the health and wellbeing of 6,000 people who had used plastic roof covers to a similar number who had never used plastic, and compared the two groups to see if plastic roof insulation could have an impact on health.
The results revealed that people who used plastic roofs at home in the UK had significantly lower levels of obesity, diabetes and heart disease, compared to those who never used the plastic, as well as a reduced risk of chronic illnesses like cancer, respiratory diseases and arthritis.
But the study also revealed that while plastic roofinsulating material was not significantly affecting the health or wellbeing of the plastic roof users, the material did have an effect on the longterm health of those exposed to it.
“It is important to note that the data does not indicate that the use of plastic roofs will be detrimental to the health,” the authors of the study said.
Dr Smith said that the results suggested that it was not the way that plastic was being used that was causing the health issues, but rather the way the materials were used.
“There is still a long way to go before plastic roof can be made less harmful,” she said.
She added that the findings were not definitive, but suggested that the long and hard way was still ahead.
“Our findings are consistent with the findings of previous research on the effects of residential use of roof insulation on health,” Dr Smith concluded.
The study was conducted with support from the British Association for the Advancement of Science (BAAS) and was funded by the National Institute for Health Research.
The UCL study is published in PLOS One.
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