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"Take 5 and Stay Alive" - DIY warning over deadly asbestos dust danger
With the Easter weekend approaching – traditionally one of the busiest times for Do-It-Yourself enthusiasts – the British Lung Foundation has launched its “Take 5 and Stay Alive” asbestos campaign.
Although asbestos has long been associated with industrial illnesses, the BLF is urging people to get the answers to five crucial questions about asbestos before carrying out improvementsin their homes.
“Exposure to asbestos can lead to all manner of dreadful diseases, including mesothelioma, asbestosis and lung cancer, as well as other conditions such as pleural thickening,” said Lesley Mynett, an industrial disease specialist with Fentons Solicitors LLP, corporate partners of the British Lung Foundation. “The BLF is warning people across the country of the potentially deadly dangers of asbestos they might uncover in their homes through DIY, and any move to make more people aware of the dangers they could unknowingly face - and potentially reduce the number of deaths caused by exposure to asbestos - is a welcome one.”
Lesley, who for many years has seen first-hand the devastating effects asbestos has on its victims, said the BLF’s campaign would hopefully raise awareness of asbestos in the home, and serve as a warning to anyone who discovers it not to try to dispose of it themselves.
“There is a lot of very useful information on the ‘Take 5 and Stay Alive’ website,” said Lesley, “including help on how to identify asbestos, and importantly what to do if you find it in your home,” she said. “Although it is common to find asbestos in and around the home, it is important to remember that as long as it is in a good condition and has not been disturbed, it is unlikely to present any immediate health risk.”
Lesley said there was a common misconception that asbestos is a thing of the past and only affects workers in heavy industry, but she said many people could still be at risk today. “Many homes built from the fifties onwards could contain asbestos,” she said. “Boiler and pipe lagging, insulation, floors and boarding – there are many different ways asbestos was used in building houses,” she said. “Astonishingly, asbestos was being used in some cement products up until as recently as 1999.
“Many DIY enthusiasts think nothing of ripping up a few boards here, or knocking through a wall there,” she said. “But the message is clear – homeowners should check everything carefully before disturbing potentially deadly asbestos dust, and if they think for a moment that they might have discovered asbestos, they should have it professionally removed.”
For more information, visit the Take 5 and Stay Alive website at http://www.take5andstayalive.com/
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