The hidden threat: Asbestos fibres in our drinking water

Design: Janni Kristensen/TV2 Nord

Although asbestos is now banned in 69 countries, it still lurks in our buildings, our landfills – and our water pipes. There is general acceptance that inhalation can be lethal; now scientists and campaigners are voicing increasing dismay about the potential risks of ingestion – swallowing the fibres. This experts fear would be part of a fourth wave of risks following the risks for miners, for manufacturing workers, and for construction workers and their families. Asbeter founder and CEO, Dr Inez Postema and Cornelis van der Burg, head of R&D, Asbeter, on a visit to Asbeter, Rotterdam. Photo: Katharine Quarmby

Take aways:

Water pipes made of asbestos cement release fibres that are lethal when inhaled.

The silent killer in buildings all over Europe

Could asbestos be even more deadly than previously thought? TAKE AWAYS

Asbestos is more lethal than previously known. New figures, recognized by EU-institutions show that 70 000 – 90 000 Europeans die of asbestos related cancer each year. To older working men, a known group of victims, are now added women, teachers, hospital personal, office workers, and all people exposed to asbestos in public building and private homes. The death rate is rising in countries which banned the use of asbestos 30-40 years ago due to demolition and renovation of asbestos that has never been removed.