In 2012, an Argentine-American and his Puerto Rican husband landed in Cordoba, Argentina to start a new life, and document their cultural experiences abroad. Our blog comes complete with personal experiences, photos, videos, and tips to make the transition of living abroad a bit easier.
Sunday, February 24, 2013
Asbestos – The Hidden Danger in Argentina’s Drinking Water
Until recently, Asbestos, known as Amianto in Argentina, was used to insulate the water tanks found commonly on top of Argentine homes. In the U.S., Asbestos levels in the water supply are constantly monitored by the water department. I was unable to verify whether Argentina's water department checks for Asbestos in their water supply, but I hope they do. Most people I asked (even doctors) were ignorant of what Asbestos/Amianto was or the threat that it represented. Regardless, the water tanks can pollute the water with Asbestos fibers and lead, even if the city's water supply isn't contaminated.
Old water tanks that use Asbestos/Amianto and lead pipes
Asbestos isn't the only health hazard that these tanks possess. The pipes used to carry water into a home contain lead. Over time, this can accumulate in a person's bloodstream and become toxic.
Asbestos is a mineral found everywhere on Earth. There's no way to escape from it. It's in our air, our food and soil. The biggest health threat comes from inhaling large concentrations of Asbestos over time. Obviously, there isn't much danger of this happening from inhalation, but there are case studies that suggest that Asbestos fibers in the water supply may increase risk of Cancer in the digestive system.
Regardless of whether the risk is minimal or not, there's no reason why anyone should risk their lives by ingesting Asbestos or lead.
So, if you're living in Argentina and you have one of these old water tanks, replace it! I chose the brand TINACOS for my new water tank, but there are other brands you can choose from. You just have to do some research.
Modern asbestos free water tank
A new tank will run you about 500 pesos (about a 100 U.S. dollars) and another 500 pesos to have it installed. I also recommend that you have the pipes that lead from the water tank to your home purged every twelve months. You'd be surprised how many contaminants build up in one year.