Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Asbestos Contamination in Water

Asbestos Contamination in Water
In 2012, the Asbestos Disease Awareness Association (ADAO) released a statement informing the public that workers in Houston, Texas who repaired the city’s water mains were directly exposed to asbestos. According to the Scientific Analytical Institute, the water pipes had 35% asbestos, and uninformed workers were directly at risk. Unfortunately, the dangers of asbestos in water is a nationwide problem, and if ingested for prolonged periods, people may run the possibility of developing serious health problems.

Health Problems Related to Asbestos in Water

Fortunately, the risk of developing health problems related to asbestos in water is rare, as someone would have to ingest an exorbitant amount for problems to occur. If high amounts of ingestion occur, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that the risk of developing intestinal polyps increases.

In addition, the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry (ATSDR) performed a study that suggest that those who drink water with a high amount of asbestos are at risk for cancer-related deaths. However, the studies also indicated that other factors, such as smoking, may play a part in the results.

Most health problems happen after long-term exposure to asbestos. In other words, it’s much less likely to develop health problems when only a glass of tap water with asbestos was consumed as opposed to drinking several gallons per day over a long period of time. In addition, the risk reduces significantly if the water is under the maximum contaminant level (MCL).

Safe Drinking Water Act

In 1974, the Safe Drinking Water Act was passed, which mandates that the EPA monitor and figure out the safest levels of chemicals in tap water. As a result, the EPA set the MCL at 7 million asbestos fibers per liter of water for fibers greater than 10 microns. The EPA determined this level to be the safest level that will not cause any health issues and diseases. If the levels of asbestos should rise above 7 million, water companies will work to reduce the amount of contaminants.

Asbestos Released Through Water
The Toxics Release Inventory states that between 1987-1993, 9 million pounds of asbestos was released into both water and land. The top five states that were affected were:

·        Pennsylvania
·        Louisiana
·        Texas
·        Arkansas

These numbers have decreased as many of the ways that asbestos was released, such as through roofing materials, are no longer used. However, old cement mains still pose a risk to drinking water if they become corroded. Once they are corroded, asbestos fibers can slip through and enter into water.

Legal Information and Options  

If you think you’ve been exposed to asbestos or if you’ve already been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, it’s important to understand your legal rights. For more information, visit Mesothelioma Lawyer Center,  a comprehensive resource on asbestos and asbestos-related diseases with extensive information on mesothelioma law firms and attorneys

NotesHow to remove asbestos ?
The following water treatment method(s) have proven to be effective for removing asbestos to below 7 MFL: coagulation/filtration, direct  filtration, and corrosion control.

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