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Water Pipes Damaged by Fires and Aging Infrastructure Raise Mesothelioma Concerns

The impact of natural disasters, fires, and aging on America’s infrastructure is raising significant concerns about the public’s safety, and the rare form of cancer known as mesothelioma is among health experts’ top concerns. Many homes damaged by fire were constructed using asbestos, and the same is true of deteriorating cement pipes that carry water into consumers’ homes. Asbestos is a carcinogenic material that is easily inhaled or ingested once it begins to break down, and it is the single cause of malignant mesothelioma. The fires in California and the flooding in Texas and Florida have both created the risk of asbestos fibers entering nearby streams and rivers and contaminating the drinking water supply. The same is happening as aging water pipes reach the end of their lifespan and begin to break down.

Most people think of mesothelioma as a condition caused by occupational exposure to asbestos, but the material can enter the body from different sources, including contaminated drinking water. When a large number of homes containing asbestos are damaged by fire, as was the case in California, the carcinogenic materials can become airborne in the wind or can enter the ground and be carried into the drinking water supply through rain or the water used to extinguish the blaze. Similarly, as pipes made with asbestos cement begin to break down through years of use, microscopic asbestos fibers can find their way into a community’s water that is used for drinking, cooking and bathing. The problem because so extreme in one Texas community this past year that the local school district stopped using plain tap water for food preparation, and distributed water bottles to students in lieu of use of water fountains.

When people drink water that is contaminated by asbestos, the material’s fibers can become embedded in the lining cells of the body’s cavities and eventually grow into mesothelioma tumors. These tumors take decades to grow large enough to be noticed, but they are always deadly. It is for this reason that communities at risk for exposure monitor water quality so carefully and take immediate action once asbestos has been detected.

If you or someone you love has been exposed to asbestos, you need as much information about mesothelioma as possible. To make sure you know what to watch out for and where to get help, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today, at 1-800-692-8608.

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer is an independent writer, editor and proofreader. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Her dreams of a writing career were diverted by a need to pay her bills. She spent a few years providing copy for a major retailer, then landed a lucrative career in advertising sales. With college bills for all three of her kids paid, she left corporate America for a return to her original goal of writing. She specializes in providing content for websites and finds tremendous enjoyment in the things she learns while doing her research. Her specific areas of interest include health and fitness, medical research, and the law.

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