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Safety and Plumbing – Common Plumbing Health Hazards Lead and Asbestos

October 26th, 2016 by gtowsley Leave a reply »


plum bing safety

Raynor Shine, 10/25/2016


When it comes to being on the job it’s important to keep safety and plumbing in mind. Every job has its share of hazards, the same goes for plumbing. Proper education and training are crucial in order to avoid some of the most common plumbing health hazards. Here are some safety and plumbing tips and how to best avoid some of the most common plumbing health hazards starting with Lead and Asbestos.



Lead is a common plumbing health hazard that can cause serious illness and even death. Even small amounts of lead poisoning can cause severe illness.  Exposure to even low levels of lead can cause damage over time. Some of the symptoms associated with lead poisoning are: high blood pressure, abdominal paint, joint pain, muscle pain, decline in mental functioning, memory loss, mood disorders, and issues with fertility.

plumbing safety

NPR,, 10/25/2016

The reason why lead poisoning poses as a plumbing health hazard is because it was once a key ingredient in paint prior to 1978 when lead based paint was banned. Lead was also used to solder brass and copper pipes prior to 1980, and some pipes are even made out of lead. This poses a plumbing health hazard for plumber because when working on older homes plumbers may come in contact with lead directly from the source or from dust.



Asbestos is another common plumbing health hazard that can cause serious health conditions. Prior to the 1970’s asbestos was used in a wide variety of building products because of its durability and resistance to heads, acids, and friction. Asbestos can be found in: insulation, fireproofing products, textiles, spackling, gaskets, cement pipes, sheet material, tiles, wallboards, siding, and roofing.  Exposure to asbestos can result in: shortness of breath, tightness in chest, persistent dry cough, chest pain, loss in appetite, finger clubbing (enlarges fingertips), and nail deformities. Severe asbestos exposure can result in lunch cancer, most commonly mesothelioma.

Asbestos exposure is a plumbing health hazard because of all the materials plumber come in contact with when working on older homes. Sawing, sanding, cutting, and drilling can release asbestos particles in the air where they can then be inhaled. Plumbers also handle pumps, valves, and gaskets that could contain asbestos.

Safety Precautions

It’s important to take the right precautions when it comes to plumbing safety and avoiding common plumbing hazards. Some precautions you can take to ensure that you protect yourself from common plumbing hazards are:

  •         Always wear protective gear (eyewear, face masks, gloves, etc…)
  •         Avoid dry sweeping areas that may have contaminated dust; dampen the area first to prevent dust from kicking up.
  •         Change clothes immediately after exposure.
  •         Wash hands or better yet try to take a shower as soon as possible.

For more plumbing safety tips and how to avoid common plumbing hazards visit our website at

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Plumbing Safety – Things to Watch Out for When Working on Older Buildings



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