Asbestos Exposure in the Plumbing Industry
Plumbers’ asbestos exposure may have occurred through a variety of common activities including, but not limited to:
- Using hot tap machines to cut into older pipelines that may have contained asbestos
- Stripping away old asbestos cement pipe from corroded water and sewer lines
- Cutting new pipes to specific lengths and sizes to fit certain dimensions in an area of a house or community building, and in the process disturbing asbestos fibers used in the products’ insulation
- Working with thick asbestos insulation and refractory materials used to protect boiler fireboxes
- Maintenance and removal of boilers, which may have contained asbestos-laced rope gaskets between sections around boiler doors
Common Plumbing Products Containing Asbestos
One of the most common asbestos products plumbers came into contact with was asbestos-cement pipe, a composite material made of Portland cement reinforced with asbestos fiber. It was especially popular in the construction industry because of its strength and durability.
A variety of other asbestos products were used throughout plumbing and piping systems in residential, commercial and industrial sites including:
- insulating cement
- pipe covering
- block insulation
Plumbers regularly worked around other trades such as carpenters, insulators and drywallers, who also used asbestos materials. Asbestos building materials used by these trades included joint compound, siding, floor tiles, and ceiling tiles.