Asbestos in Drinking Water: The Newest Asbestos Threat?
Asbestos is often found in construction and building materials. Exposure is common among construction workers, boilermakers, shipbuilders, and auto mechanics. Now, there could be increased concern about asbestos in the water flowing through the pipes in your own home.
Asbestos can be introduced into drinking water by naturally occurring asbestos-containing minerals and ores in the ground as well as industrial pollution, atmospheric pollution, and asbestos-cement pipes.
Recently, in New York, asbestos-cement water pipes burst, causing concern of asbestos in the water for residents in the area. There is no way to tell how much asbestos has contaminated the water in the area, but no amount of exposure to asbestos is safe. Residents who drink contaminated drinking water could be at risk for developing peritoneal mesothelioma, a form of mesothelioma affecting the lining around the stomach or abdomen.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires communities to test water for asbestos. In 1995, the EPA recognized the long-term health effects of ingesting asbestos-like lung disease and cancer.
If you would like to check the status of your own drinking water, visit the EPA’s Federal Reports page.