EUROPE – Asbestos is now banned in 69 countries, but it is still found in our drinking water. Water pipes are made of asbestos cement release fibres that can be lethal when inhaled. Experts have warned about this problem for decades, but the issue persists. 

The threat from ingested asbestos fibres through water has been known and even debated in the EU-system in 2021, in 2017 and 2013 but not led to any regulatory action. The European Commissions in 2017 has said it’s an issue for the member states.

WHO (the World Health Organisation) recommends minimising the concentration of asbestos fibres in drinking water but has not found it appropriate or necessary to establish guidelines for asbestos in water, as their panel of experts are divided.

When water pipes burst by time fibres are spread both in the water and in the air to be inhaled by maintenance workers.
 Experts in occupational health and asbestos risk say exposure by ingestion has been under-appreciated and under-researched because no official body has assumed responsibility for environmental exposure.

Photo credit: Asbeter founder and CEO, Dr Inez Postema and Cornelis van der Burg, head of R&D, Asbeter, on a visit to Asbeter, Rotterdam. (c) Katharine Quarmby

Team members

Edoardo Anziano

Edoardo Anziano is a freelance journalist and investigative reporter for IrpiMedia and Scomodo.

Edoardo Anziano

Staffan Dahllöf

Staffan Dahllöf is a freelance reporter based in Copenhagen, specialised in FOI.

Staffan Dahllöf

Nils Mulvad

Nils Mulvad is an investigative journalist, affiliated with Investigative Reporting Denmark. 

Katharine Quarmby

Katharine Quarmby is an experienced and award-winning journalist, writer and editor, based in the UK.

Paolo Riva

Paolo Riva is a freelance journalist based between Brussels and Milan.

Paolo Riva

Krzysztof Story

Krzysztof Story is a journalist based in Poland.

Krzysztof Story

Matej Zwitter

Matej Zwitter is a qualified engineer from Slovenia who strayed into the domain of journalism. 

Hrvoje Perica

Hrvoje Perica is a journalist for Oštro, Croatia. 

€26.200, allocated on 09/02/2023




  • The EU
  • Croatia
  • Denmark
  • Italy
  • Poland
  • Slovenia
  • The UK

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