Image: ©Swanky Fella

Asbestos exposure via tap water

Very low concentrations of asbestos fibres are found in Dutch tap water. According to the Health Council, this does not pose any health risks.

Part of the drinking water network still consists of old asbestos cement pipes. Asbestos fibres can get into the tap water through wear and tear or work. The State Secretary of Infrastructure and Water Management has asked the Health Council whether this poses a health risk.

Measurements show that concentrations of asbestos fibres in Dutch tap water are very low. In most of the measurements, the concentrations were so low that the presence of asbestos fibres could not be determined.

In most foreign epidemiological studies on the effects of oral exposure to asbestos in drinking water, concentrations were thousands of times higher than in the Netherlands. Those studies found no link between exposure to asbestos fibres in drinking water and the occurrence of cancer. The Health Council concludes from this that exposure to asbestos in Dutch tap water does not lead to a health risk. This applies both to drinking tap water and to other applications such as food preparation.