What are the Risks of Asbestos in Drinking Water?

Posted on behalf of Peter T. Nicholl in Mesothelioma & Asbestos Published on December 30, 2020 and updated on March 15, 2022.

asbestos pipesPeople are often surprised to learn asbestos has not been officially banned in the United States. While this is concerning, use of asbestos in the U.S. is nowhere near as widespread as it once was.

However, it is still possible to encounter asbestos in old buildings or old products. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral, which means traces of it may show up in drinking water. (Asbestos does not dissolve in water.)

Should you still drink water from the tap? What are the health risks of ingesting traces of asbestos in drinking water? Below, you can learn much more about this issue.

If you or a loved one believe you were exposed to asbestos and are suffering related health problems, give our firm a call to schedule a free legal consultation. There are no upfront fees for our services, and our Maryland mesothelioma attorneys do not get paid unless you receive compensation.

How Could Asbestos Get into Your Tap Water?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), asbestos was used in cement pipes that distribute water. According to The Water Research Foundation, as of 2012, cement pipes were used in about 12-15 percent of drinking water systems.

Over time, these pipes decay and asbestos fibers may be released into the water that is rushing through them. Pipes may degrade due to weather or demolition. When buildings are not properly inspected, the problem may go unnoticed.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral and when these natural deposits erode, they could seep into water that eventually gets into pipes that provide drinking water. Natural disasters and demolition could result in debris and some of this may make its way into rivers, streams and lakes, and potentially into the water system.

Fires, hurricanes and tornadoes often expose construction materials inside the walls. This debris could easily get released into natural water sources.

While it is possible for asbestos fibers to get all the way to the faucets in your home, water treatment plants work to filter these impurities out of your water. They have various procedures for doing this, including coagulation/filtration, corrosion control and diatomite filtration.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), which reviewed data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most of the U.S. population consumes drinking water that has asbestos at a concentration of less than one million fibers per liter. Under EPA guidelines, the concentration of asbestos fibers in drinking water must be below seven million fibers per liter. If the asbestos concentration is higher, there is an increased risk of developing benign intestinal polyps.

What if Asbestos Levels in My Water Increase?

Water suppliers are required to notify you of a dangerous amount of asbestos in your water within 30 days of it happening. If you are concerned about this or have concerns about what else may be in your tap water, you can contact your water supplier and review its annual water quality report.

It is important to note communities may see more cases of toxic concentration of asbestos as asbestos-containing materials get to the end of their lifespan.

Protecting Yourself and Your Family

While water treatment plants take steps to remove contaminants from water, you can also take steps. You can buy water filters to attach directly to faucets in your house. There are also pitchers you can buy to pour water in and filter out contaminants. For those who have the means, purchasing a water filtration system for the entire house may be an option.

It is important to determine what impurities a filter will remove from your water, because not all filters are the same.

If there are concerns in your community about the safety of your water, you could always turn to bottled water until these concerns are addressed. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulates bottled water, requiring companies to avoid the risk of water being contaminated.

Give Us a Call for Legal Assistance

Many people are unsure what to do after being diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related illness. While talking to a lawyer may not be at the top of your mind, there are many benefits to discussing the situation with an experienced attorney.

At Peter T. Nicholl Law Offices, we have been representing asbestos victims for many years and have recovered billions on their behalf.

Our licensed attorneys are here to help. Phone: 410-907-3957.