Water pipe repair method has previously unknown hazards

Texas workers who repair water pipes might be familiar with a method called cured-in-place pipe repair. A study says that this common method of pipe repair may not be as safe as it is believed to be. The study by Purdue University researchers was published on July 26 in Environmental Science & Technology Letters.


CIPP involves creating a new pipe by inserting a resin-filled fabric pipe into a damaged pipe and curing it with steam, ultraviolet light or hot water. The researchers did air tests at seven work sites in California and Indiana. They found that during the CIPP work, a substance previously believed to be steam that was emitted actually contained organic compounds, some of which were carcinogenic or endocrine disruptors.


According to a Purdue assistant professor of engineering, CIPP is used in half of water pipe repairs in the United States. He says that additional research into CIPP is needed to assess the short-term and long-term impact on workers from exposure to chemicals released during the work.


A press release dated July 27 by the researchers says that they have seen evidence that companies do not understand the chemicals CIPP workers are exposed to or the possible consequences. The release acknowledges that CIPP is “brilliant technology” but stresses the importance of further research to determine if it is safe.


Workers’ compensation benefits cover occupational illnesses as well as injuries resulting from workplace accidents. A person who has contracted a disease as a result of exposure to toxic substances at the workplace might want to meet with an attorney to see what benefits might be available.

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