A sobering article at http://www.survivingmesothelioma.com/news/view.asp?ID=00991 says that an insurance industry study in the UK concludes that plumbers are at high risk of developing mesothelioma cancer.
The report found that current or former plumbers and pipe fitters have a much higher incidence of the asbestos-related cancer than people working in other industries.
Asbestos was widely used as an insulating material until its dangers were discovered in the 1980s. It was particularly prized in plumbing for its resistance to temperature and corrosion. Although it is no longer used in new construction, asbestos is still present around the water pipes and in the pipe fittings of millions of older homes and commercial buildings. Plumbers and pipe fitters who disturb this asbestos by cutting, repairing or replacing it can release the fibres which are the seeds of mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis and many other illnesses
Mesothelioma tends to develop slowly – it can take 15 to 20 years for symptoms to appear.
The report is a timely word of warning to take care when dealing with insulation in older properties. There could be hidden dangers around the pipes.