Do Asbestos Pipes Present A Health Risk?

28 Dec 2021

Do Asbestos Pipes Present A Health Risk?

Professional companies have long since been involved with asbestos removal and disposal, as the substance is extremely hazardous to health and is one that requires special handling when it is encountered. Believe it or not, nearly 10% of Ireland’s water supply is carried through pipes containing asbestos, which equates to around 6,300 Kilometres.

Understandably, the question regarding the threat posed by asbestos in water pipes is one that gets asked often.

So...Does it Present a Significant Health Risk?

When encountered by asbestos companies in the course of their normal work, the risks to health typically centre around the inhalation of carcinogenic airborne fibres that exist when the substance is moved or disturbed. Whilst the existence of this danger is not in question, there is little evidence that ingesting asbestos via drinking water represents similar hazards.

Asbestos regulations are far reaching and very comprehensive (for obvious reasons), however there aren’t nearly as many protocols surrounding water pipes that contain the particles when they are intact. The subject came into the spotlight recently when water pipes containing asbestos burst in the Drogheda area, but the official word from the authorities was that there was nothing to be unduly concerned about.

World Health Organisation (WHO)

This certainty is backed up by a 2003 report published by the World Health Organisation that said there are no discernible threats to public health from the existence of asbestos particles in drinking water and that the risks were entirely associated with its inhalation.

In addition, the Irish Water Board routinely flushes main water pipes when there is a possibility that foreign bodies exist in the water supply. This all but negates any possible risks that exist when asbestos particles enter the system intact and get ingested by the public.

If you would like to know more about asbestos surveys, removal and disposal, we recommend you visit our website or give us a call on 01 6905907 for a chat about your asbestos abatement needs.