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Hazardous repair method for water pipes

New Jersey plumbing construction workers who routinely repair water pipes should know that a popular repair method may present a risk to their health. According to researchers from Purdue University, the cured-in-place pipe repair procedure should be reassessed for the dangers it can present.

During the cured-in-place pipe repair process, a tube made of resin-reinforced fabric is inserted into a damaged pipe. The tube is cured with high-pressure steam, ultraviolet light or hot water in order to create a new pipe.

The researchers conducted a study that entailed completing air tests at multiple steam-cured cured-in-place pipe installations in California and Indiana. Seven facilities were part of the study, including five storm-water pipe facilities and two sanitary sewer-pipe installations. The results of the tests showed that the chemical cloud released by the process was not composed of steam as previously thought. Instead, it was composed of organic compounds and vapors, including endocrine disruptors and carcinogens. The test results disputed the long-held assumptions that the technology was not dangerous.

A Purdue University assistant professor of engineering stated that the cured-in-place pipe repair technology is used in 50 percent of the water pipe repairs in the country. He also stated that it was imperative that the immediate and lasting effects of exposure to the chemicals released by the technology are studied. Modifications to pipe repair operations and technology would be required to protect workers and the general public if it was determined that the exposure was in fact dangerous.

Workers' compensation benefits might be available to a person who has become ill due to toxic materials at the job site. An attorney can often assist a worker who has contracted an occupational disease with the preparation and filing of the required claim documentation.

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