Do Plumbers Face Health Risks?

The effects of lead pipes, once commonly used in plumbing, are a well-documented health hazard. Exposure to lead in drinking water can cause skin, hair, and nail damage, as well as neurological issues such as irritability, insomnia, and decreased appetite. Outdated or damaged pipes can also contain unhealthy levels of zinc and cadmium, which can lead to stomach aches and flu-like symptoms. If your home was built before 1986, it's important to have a plumber inspect your pipes and make sure they don't pose a health risk. Coli are part of the group of unknown contaminants that can cause health problems if your septic system is damaged.

Unfortunately, plumbers working in confined spaces can suffer fatal injuries. Enclosed areas that are not designed for safe oxygen levels, such as boilers, storage tanks, sewers, pipes, ducts, and wells, can present unique challenges for breathing. A plumber exposed to these conditions may experience serious medical issues. Unfortunately, worldwide more than 125 million people are exposed to asbestos in their workplaces. Plumbers are often exposed to asbestos more than others because they work in places with an unknown background.

If you think you may be exposed to asbestos, it's important to ask landlords if the building has ever used asbestos materials. This is the best way to avoid inhaling these dangerous fibers that can eventually cause mesothelioma. While many newer buildings don't have any asbestos materials inside, it's impossible to be sure that with an older location materials containing asbestos have never been used. Exposure to asbestos builds up over time and can lead to life-threatening conditions for which there is no cure. The World Health Organization's protection report shows that up to 48 percent of plumbers have reported hearing loss due to shocks with tools, noisy pipes and electronic machinery.

This can cause hearing damage both inside and outside of work. A conscientious plumber must know without a doubt what is and what is not safe to drive, says John Hlad, a plumber in Brooklyn, New York for three decades. A plumber is a person who installs, repairs and maintains plumbing fixtures or systems in businesses, industries or residences. Fixed scaffolding, a cherry picker or certified mobile scaffolding can also help support a plumber working at a higher location. Being aware of these risks and taking the necessary steps to avoid coming into contact with them is extremely valuable for any plumber. Plumbing, basements and attics are the most common areas where leaks occur so if your family has respiratory problems hiring a plumber trained in leak detection to inspect these parts of your home can be a good investment.

That's why Gordon Donato, a plumber who has worked on the pipeline in New York City for more than 30 years jokingly refers to his plumbing license as a health license. In a 1999 study of 459 workers in various construction trades plumbers had particularly high levels of lead in their blood which experts linked to contact with lead-containing water pipes or dismantling lead joints. And because plumbers often use noisy electrical machinery in tight places they're especially vulnerable to hearing loss. Plumbers and pipefitters continue to face dangerous levels of carcinogens while working (especially asbestos dust in construction areas). Of course you don't need a plumber to tell you that a backed sewer line poses a potentially serious health hazard.

Sewer lines and overflowing toilets are to plumbers what marital disputes are to police officers: no one wants to take that call. A study of toxic exposure among carpenters, plumbers, electricians and painters in Great Britain estimated that men born between 1950 and 1964 had the highest proportion of lung complications. And many plumbers including Tehle have suffered nasty falls while standing on ladders and using high-powered drills. Since all of this requires time to learn it may actually take longer for a plumber to receive his license than for a law student to obtain a law degree. To safely handle every homeowner's worst nightmare plumbers need extensive training in addition to having a strong stomach.

Philip Merrell
Philip Merrell

Subtly charming music trailblazer. Professional zombie enthusiast. Alcohol fanatic. Lifelong gamer. Friendly troublemaker.

Leave a Comment

Required fields are marked *