There are growing concerns in Pennsylvania and across the United States that a popular procedure that has been used to repair broken water pipes could be harmful to workers. The method can release chemicals into the air and could also pose a risk to the public and the environment, researchers report.
The method is known as cured-in-place pipe repair, or CIPP. It involves inserting a fabric tube impregnated with resin inside a pipe that has been damaged and then curing it with hot water, ultraviolet light or steam to create one new and unbroken plastic pipe. To examine the method, researchers tested the air at seven places where steam-cured CIPP was used to repair sanitary sewer pipes and storm-water pipes. The tests showed that plumes that were thought to be simply steam contained chemicals and organic compounds, including endocrine disruptors and carcinogens.
The researchers recommended more study of the method and the potential for worker illnesses or public exposure to harmful fumes and vapors from the repair process. They noted that they were unaware of studies to show the safety of the chemical mixture produced and recommended that workers wear chemically resistant gloves when carrying out the process. In addition, the researchers also expressed their concern about the lack of awareness of the materials emitted during pipe repairs as well as potential consequences of exposure. They also said that local health officials should be made aware of odors in the area.
Chemical exposure is only one of the hazards that many employees face on a daily basis. Workplace injuries can include sudden accidents with devastating physical consequences. A workers’ compensation attorney can help employees who are injured on the job or who contract an occupational disease receive appropriate benefits.