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Georgia workers who routinely work with water pipes should know that researchers at Purdue University believe that a commonly used method to repair water pipes is not as safe as originally believed. According to the researchers, the cured-in-place pipe repair method releases dangerous chemicals in the air that can harm not only workers but also the general public and the environment.

During the cured-in-place pipe repair procedure, a tube made of resin and fabric is placed into a damaged pipe. It is then cured by applying hot water, ultraviolet light or pressurized steam, resulting in a new pipe.

For part of their study, the researchers conducted air test studies in California and Indiana at seven steam-cured, cured-in-place pipe facilities, including five installations that handled storm-water pipes and two installations that treated sewer pipes. The results of the air test showed that the chemical cloud emitted by the method contained various organic compounds and vapors, including endocrine disruptors and carcinogens. The findings are a direct challenge to the belief that the technology was safe to use.

An assistant professor of engineering at Purdue University stated in a video that the cured-in-place pipe repair method is used in about half of all repairs around the country. He went on to assert that both the short-term and long-term effects on workers and the public who are exposed to the chemical cloud emitted by the procedure have to be determined. Any effects that do exist have to be addressed with changes in water pipe repair operations and technology to protect the workers and the public.

Workers’ compensation benefits can cover occupational diseases as well as on-the-job accidents. People who have become ill due to toxic exposure might want to have a lawyer’s assistance at some point during the process, as it is not uncommon for an employer to dispute or deny these types of claims.