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There have been several studies on the toxicity of roofing material. As the owner of the first Rain Barrels Store in the U.S., Rain Barrels N' MORE in Ohio, I can assure you Asphalt Shingle are safe for rainwater collection. The small rocks, or grit that comes off your asphalt roof, may amount to 2 teaspoons a year in your rain barrel, and it comes out easily when you empty it in the winter. It also is of no concern.Cedar Shake Shingles and Copper Roofing are the two roofing materials to avoid. The Cedar roofing contains high amounts of Arsenic, as well as "growth retardant", to help prevent moss and algae. Copper roofs contains high levels of...Copper! Here is the most recent report from Seattle - https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/publications/SummaryPages/1403033.htmlAnd here is a wonderfully written article regarding roofing material and rainwater collection safety - http://www.sightline.org/2015/01/07/a-green-light-for-using-rain-barrel-water-on-garden-edibles/As for the "presence of bacteria from birds, squirrels and other small animals" in your rainwater from your roof and watering your garden with it. Rainwater may contain Lysteria and other bacteria and parasites from your roof, and cannot be used for drinking water unless it is filtered with a Big Berkley or Katadyn micro-filter system. But, watering your garden and house plants, washing your car, filling your pond, power washing your house or deck can all be safely done with rainwater. Personally, I would be far more concerned about the toxins in your laundry soap and fluoride in your toothpaste than the amount of bird poop in your rain water. Anyone who grows and eat their own food should be applauded.If you have any questions or concerns please call or email me via my information on my website rain barrels N MORE dot com.
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