Plumbers and Mesothelioma
Plumbers are skilled tradesmen who work on site in construction and maintenance to install pipework using materials such as copper, brass, earthenware, plastics, and galvanised iron by soldering or welding.
Plumbers use saws, pipe bending machines, pipe cutters, and video cameras to:
- Build and repair water supply including metal roofs, gutters, down-pipes, and roof flashings, boilers, air conditioning, and ventilation
- Build and repair sewerage
- Install soil and waste disposal systems
- Install hot water services
- Install fire protection services, steamlines, oil, and air lines
- Install gas services
- Install drainage systems
- Install septic systems, tanks, pumps and other special installations
How Plumbers Were Exposed to Asbestos
Asbestos was a common material for plumbing from the 1940s to the 1970s. These products include:
- Repairing materials
- Joint compounds
- Welding rods
- Pipe block
- Pipe coating
- Asbestos Paper
- Wrapped around air supply ducts
- lock Insulation
- Pipe insulation
- Joint/Elbow Fillers
- Insulation cement or mud
- Laminated Asbestos Felts
Are Plumbers Still At Risk of Exposure to Asbestos?
There has been and may continue to be significant risk to maintenance workers, including plumbers, who work near asbestos-containing materials, a U.K. study found. Part of the problem is that the worker may not know they’re working with asbestos. Poor removal, cleanup, and clearance practice is part of the risk to plumbers.
Why Are Plumbers Still At Risk of Mesothelioma?
Over time, pumps, valves, gaskets, and other components wear out. When plumbers cut, drill, saw, and sand asbestos around pipes to repair or replace these, releasing asbestos fibers into the air, exposing anyone near the area to those fibers. Those fibers can be inhaled or linger on clothing and be brought elsewhere, creating secondhand exposure. Once inhaled, those fibers can remain in that person’s body for a lifetime, leading to an asbestos-related disease such as mesothelioma or asbestosis.
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