Asbestos was often used as an ingredient in cement pipes, putting people who worked in certain professions at a higher risk to exposure to the deadly mineral. Workers who handle cement pipes, viaducts, and cisterns include plumbers and pipe fitters who are responsible for the installation, removal, and repair of cement pipe systems. Buildings that are 50 to 80 years old, built during the time that asbestos use was common, may have heating and cooling systems that include asbestos cement pipes.
There are close to 400,000 miles of cement pipe in this country that are contaminated with asbestos. These pipes carry water into homes and other buildings. The World Health Organization states that the chances of developing mesothelioma, a deadly disease caused by asbestos exposure, are minimal. However, the danger is higher for those people whose jobs involve removing and replacing those pipes is systems all over the United States. When the pipes are cut and taken out, asbestos fibers are released into the air where they can be ingested or inhaled.