The British Lung Foundation's Take 5 and Stay Alive campaign aims to raise awareness of the risks posed by exposure to asbestos among people having work done on their homes.
It also offers advice on how to look out for asbestos and carry out home improvements safely, the harm asbestos could cause to your health, and what to do if you think you've been exposed to it.
Asbestos first became a popular building material in the 1950s and was used in all sorts of unexpected places until as recently as the late 1990s. Under sinks. Behind tiles. Around pipes. Even in some old paint.
Thankfully, asbestos was finally banned in 1999 – but most people don't realise it could still be present in homes built or renovated before then and couldn't identify it if they came across it.
In most cases, it's nothing to worry about. As long as it's well maintained and not disturbed or disintegrating it doesn't present any immediate hazard to your health.
But breathing in asbestos dust can damage your lungs and lead to some very serious lung conditions, which can be fatal. That's why it's important to check out the Take 5 and Stay Alive website - www.take5andstayalive.com.
There, you'll find information on how to identify asbestos, what to do if you find it in your home, and health risks, as well as advice on how to stay safe while doing work on your home and what to do if you've been exposed to asbestos.
Do not assume tradespeople working in your home know about asbestos and the risks. If you're the homeowner you have a responsibility to protect any tradesperson from exposure to asbestos fibres.
So, before wading into your next project, take a few moments to find out the facts. It could be the most important five minutes of your life. Visit www.take5andstayalive.com.
For more information about lung conditions, including asbestos-related diseases like asbestosis and lung cancers, visit the British Lung Foundation website at www.blf.org.uk or call the BLF Helpline on 03000 030 555.
The British Lung Foundation. Leading the fight against lung disease.
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