Asbestos exposure has been heavily associated with job sites that once used the hazardous mineral for its fire and heat-resistant properties. However, simply taking a drink of tap water, even though the chances are slight, may cause asbestos exposure.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), cement pipes that carry water into homes and businesses may have been built during a time in which asbestos was used. As a result, there is a chance that asbestos may become loose in these older pipes, and therefore asbestos fibers may transfer into drinking water. Although asbestos is not used in piping anymore, the pipes that do contain asbestos were not completely eliminated.
Fortunately, the EPA states that the Safe Drinking Water Act, passed in 1974, ensures that water contaminants are carefully filtered out so that people aren’t in danger of health risks. The EPA strives to make sure that the maximum contaminant level (MCL) never reaches over 7 MFL. However, considering that older pipes can break down at anytime, it’s almost impossible to determine if all tap water is safe at all times.
For example, water suppliers in each state must perform routine safety inspections of MCL levels. If the levels are too high, the suppliers must work to ensure that the levels are lowered. Yet, it’s not always possible to determine if people have consumed asbestos, especially if a pipe corrodes and goes undetected before the next inspection.
Private Water Wells
It’s important to note that water suppliers generally do not test private water wells and systems. However, with around 15% of the population in the United States relying on private water wells and systems, it’s important to understand how to keep this type of water supply as safe as possible.
The EPA recommends that those who depend on private water supply to have the water professionally tested periodically. Since the EPA is only responsible for public water, people who use private water will need to contact a professional tester themselves.
In addition, homeowners should research basic care of the type of water system they have, such as septic tank care, dug wells, driven wells, and drilled wells.
Ways to Determine if Your Tap Water is Affected
Since asbestos is odorless, thin, and undetectable by the human eye, it’s difficult to determine if your tap water has been affected without it being professionally tested. However, the EPA suggests that there are a few steps you can take to ensure that your water is as safe as possible, which include:
- If possible, invest in tap water filters
- Support local efforts in promoting education and awareness regarding safe tap water
- Contact your local water utility company and request an annual consumer confidence report (CCR)
- Do not drink from or allow children to drink from old public water fountains
Keep in mind that asbestos, although a naturally-occurring mineral, has been linked to life-threatening diseases such as asbestosis and malignant mesothelioma. If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with an asbestos illness, we invite you to fill out our contact form today to get free brochures from the top mesothelioma attorneys in your area. For more than 20 years, we’ve been helping people successfully find the best mesothelioma lawyers for their needs. With over $30 billion currently available in asbestos trust funds, now is the time to get started and see how much you may be entitled to.