While the cured-in-place repair process is a conventional procedure to fix water pipes in South Carolina and across the U.S., a new study says that it may not be safe for workers. Authors of the study, which was conducted through Purdue University, claim that the process should get re-evaluated due to its potential to release of harmful chemicals into the atmosphere.
The system requires workers to insert a resin-impregnated fabric tube into a damaged pipe. The repair must be cured via hot water, steam or ultraviolet light to make a new plastic pipe. However, researchers determined that the chemical plumes that result from the process, once believed to be steam, actually contain organic vapors and compounds.
Cured-in-place pipe (CIPP) repair has long been considered a safe procedure, and estimations suggest that 50 percent of pipe repairs use the CIPP procedure. The potential exposure of workers to long-term or even short-term harmful chemicals that flow from this process has researchers calling on industry professionals to take extra precautions investigate the potential for dangers more thoroughly.
CIPP repair is considered a reliable technology, and so the focus will likely drive industry professionals to review the possible ways to reduce dangerous exposure levels. However, the pipe engineering industry has not engaged in very extensive research, so the safe exposure levels for workers is not known. Currently, industry professionals suggest that employees involved in the practice of CIPP repair should wear thick chemical resistant gloves.
Engineers and other workers in the industry should use caution and watch for signs of unusual illness. If one experiences an injury or illness associated with CIPP repair, a worker’s compensation attorney can help evaluate the employer’s liability.