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A popular method of water main repair in Missouri and across the country may be hazardous to the health of workers and possibly the general public. The repair technique, called cured-in-place repair, may release noxious chemicals when it is applied.

The technique uses a fabric or cloth saturated with a resin- or glue-like substance. The fabric is then inserted to the damaged pipe and moved to the specific area. The area is heated with hot water, steam or UV rays to cure the material at the source of the leak or damage. The method is popular due to the fact that excavation is minimal.

However, recent air quality studies in California and Indiana have detected carcinogens and other potential chemical hazards in the air surrounding the steaming procedure. The researchers point out that the study is still in the preliminary phases, and at present it is unknown if the chemicals emanating from the steaming procedure are within acceptable levels. Further studies are likely to be conducted based on these findings.

On the other hand, because the process is so common in the country, thousands of workers could be affected by the recent findings. If in fact the process is dangerous to workers, refinements in the technique are likely forthcoming.

In Missouri and other states, exposure to hazardous substances can be grounds for a workers’ compensation claim. Workers’ compensation does not merely cover a worker from accidents, but also illnesses due to toxic exposure or other workplace hazards. In these cases, the main issue is often whether exposure caused the particular illness of the worker. A person facing such a scenario may choose to seek the counsel of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.