Study finds common pipe repair method is hazardous

Utility workers in New Jersey and across the United States should be aware that a common method of pipe repair is more dangerous than previously thought, according to a study. The study was conducted by Purdue University researchers.

Cured-in-place pipe repair, also known as CIPP, is used to fix 50 percent of all damaged water pipes in the U.S. The process involves pushing a fabric tube treated with resin into a broken pipe and using ultraviolet light, steam or hot water to cure it. However, Purdue researchers tested the air quality at several sites in California and Indiana that were undergoing steam CIPP repairs and found that the emissions contained hazardous chemical compounds, including carcinogens. The results were surprising because the technology was previously thought to be safe.

The researchers said that more study needs to be done to understand the impact that CIPP chemicals may have on workers. For now, they recommend that workers wear chemical resistant gloves while performing CIPP repairs. They also encourage workers to report any chemical odors or illnesses to health officials.

Employers have a duty to provide a safe working environment to their employees. Workers who suffer toxic exposure injuries while on the job have the right to seek workers’ compensation benefits through their employer’s insurance coverage. These benefits provide wage replacement payments and medical coverage while a worker is recovering from job-related injuries and illnesses. Some people choose to seek the advice of an attorney before they file their claim to make sure it contains all required information and documentation.

Source: Safety and Health, “Water pipe repair method not as safe as previously thought, researchers say,” Aug. 2, 2017

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