The British Lung Foundation (BLF) is running an asbestos awareness campaign focused on do-it-yourself (DIY) home renovators. The campaign called “Take 5 and Stay Alive,” is aimed at preventing DIYers from becoming victims of lung disease, including mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis, caused by asbestos exposure.
According to the BLF, nearly 4,000 Britains die each year from asbestos-related diseases. Of all of the diseases, mesothelioma is the most serious with patients typically living less than a year after diagnosis. Symptoms often don’t present themselves until decades after exposure. Then, according to the BLF, “it’s often too late to do anything. So you need to get the facts to protect you and your family before you start your DIY project.”
Although many believe that the only people susceptible to mesothelioma are industrial workers, such as insulators, plumbers and pipefitters, electricians, sheet metal workers, or construction workers, who were exposed to asbestos fibers over an extended period of time, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has said, “Asbestos is a human carcinogen with no safe level of exposure.”
BLF suggests before beginning a DIY project, to “get the answers to these 5 crucial questions about asbestos:”
- What is asbestos?
- Where and when was asbestos used?
- What does asbestos look like?
- What if I find asbestos in my home?
- Where can I get all the facts?
Answers to all of these questions can be found on the BLF website or on MesotheliomaHelp.org.
When asbestos is present in structures it often does not present a hazard unless it is disturbed, causing the fibers to become airborne. When the fibers are breathed into the lungs, they then become lodged in the thin membrane that lines and encases the lungs, leading to respiratory diseases.
Because of the dangers posed from handling asbestos, individuals should not attempt to remove it on their own. Many companies across Great Britain and the United States specialize in the removal of this hazardous substance and should be contracted for the work.
Close to 3,000 Americans die from the cancer yearly, and just as many are diagnosed with the disease. Although there is no cure for mesothelioma, it can be treated with varying degrees of success through the use of surgical procedures, chemotherapy and radiation.