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Common water pipe repair method could be hazardous

According to research, a procedure that is commonly used to repair water pipes in Georgia and around the country may not be as safe for workers as previously thought. It is called the cured-in-place method and involves placing a resin-impregnated fabric tube into the damaged pipe and curing it. The curing part of the method usually involves pressurized steam, hot water or ultraviolet light.

Air tests were completed at seven different locations. Researchers determined that this water pipe repair method released chemical plumes that contained some organic compounds and vapors that were known carcinogens. It has previously been assumed that the plumes released during the curing process were just made of harmless steam. Because there are no known studies that determines what exposure limits to workers, the public and the environment are safe, additional research will be needed.

The findings contradict the longstanding assumptions about the safety of this water pipe repair method. As such, workers are encouraged to wear thick gloves that are resistant to chemicals. Additionally, health officials, contractors and engineers involved in the water pipe repair project should be notified if employees suffer work-related illnesses or detect odors coming from the site in question.

Those who suffer injuries or become ill due to unsafe conditions while on the job may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits. For example, those who become ill due to being exposed to chemicals could be eligible to receive benefits that can include the payment of medical expenses and in some cases a percentage of lost wages. An attorney can often assist with the preparation of the required claim documentation.

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