Asbestos in Texas Town’s Drinking Water Raises Cancer Fears
Texas has a long and tragic history of asbestos exposure occurring in industrial settings, and of workers in those settings subsequently being diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis, and other asbestos-related diseases. In some cases, these workers carried the asbestos home on their clothes, extending the risk of exposure to family and friends. Those exposures caused untold pain and suffering, but they stopped once the Environmental Protection Agency revealed the material’s dangers and protections were put in place. Now the residents of a small South Texas community are facing fears about asbestos once again, but this time it’s from their drinking water.
According to a letter sent to customers by the leaders of Devine, a city located 40 miles southwest of San Antonio, recent samples taken of city water shoed that their water contained 14 MFL of asbestos in January of 2016, 17 MFL of asbestos in April, and 18 MFL in July – the maximum amount of asbestos that federal regulators allow is 7 million fibers per liter.
The city is assuring residents that their water supply is safe, but the letter that they sent out also contains the following caveat: “This is not an emergency. However, some people who drink water containing asbestos in excess of the MCL over many years may have increased risk of developing benign intestinal polyps.”
Despite the apparent lack of concern on the part of the administration, residents are leery of drinking the water and have taken to purchasing bottled water for themselves and for their children. One resident was quoted as saying, “I don’t want my one-year-old daughter, and I’m pregnant, I don’t want to be drinking water with asbestos level that’s not healthy, you know. That’s not safe.” The Texas Department of State Health Services’ website is also less reassuring then the Devine leaders, stating, “The health effects from oral asbestos exposures are unclear. In some areas where the residents are exposed to asbestos fibers in the drinking water, cancers of the esophagus, stomach and intestine may be a greater concern. After reviewing the scientific evidence from human experience and animal testing; however, health authorities are still unsure of asbestos links to cancer in the digestive system.”
Of additional concern is the fact that the Mayor of Devine says they have no idea what has caused the problem, and therefore are not able to offer a solution.
Asbestos has caused illness and death around the world since it first started being used in Ancient Rome. In the United States it is currently being investigated by the Environmental Protection Agency as one of the ten most concerning chemicals, with an eye to potentially banning its use permanently. If you or someone you love has been sickened as a result of an asbestos-related disease, the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net are here to help. For information on treatment options and other invaluable resources, contact us today at 1-800-692-8608.
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