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Holiday DIYers encouraged to be asbestos aware

24 August 2011

As 40 per cent of households prepare to make home improvements this bank holiday weekend (1), the British Lung Foundation has published new advice to protect people from the dangers of asbestos.

Nearly fourteen million homes were built when asbestos materials were being used (2) in construction. Many of these houses still contain asbestos today and if it is disturbed it can cause the incurable chest cancer, mesothelioma.

The British Lung Foundation is urging DIYers to read our asbestos advice and ensure they know how to identify asbestos-containing materials before they do any odd jobs around their home. This small step could help to prevent them from developing the chest cancer mesothelioma, which kills one person every five hours in the UK (3) .

Katherine Huntly, British Lung Foundation spokesperson, said:
“Many people think asbestos is a thing of the past but this hidden killer is still lurking in many British homes. Before you take a sledge hammer to the wall, sand your artex ceiling or change your boiler, a quick visit to our website will help make sure you’re not exposing yourself to danger.”

For more information and advice on asbestos management please visit our asbestos advice page or contact the British Lung Foundation Helpline on 03000 030 555.

For further press enquiries, please contact Patrick Pringle on 0207 688 5616 or Katherine Huntly on 0207 688 5588. If you have an out of hours enquiry please contact the press mobile on 07976 227 076.

- Ends -

Notes to editors:

• Mesothelioma is a malignant cancer which develops between 15 and 60 years after exposure to asbestos in the two-layered membrane surrounding the lungs and lining the inside of the rib cage (pleura).

• The rising number of deaths from the condition is linked to the use of asbestos in the building industry up until the mid 1980s.

• The British Lung Foundation is fighting to help the eight million people in the UK with lung disease. The charity provides support and information to improve the every day lives of people with lung disease. We are also campaigning for better diagnosis, treatment and prevention for now and the future. To find out about the help we provide go to or telephone the British Lung Foundation helpline 03000 030 555.

1) Research carried out for HSBC between 7th and 14th April 2011, showed that 40% of UK householders are likely to have spent the recent Bank Holidays making home improvements. This research used the same methodology as the 2009 survey by Dynamic Markets Limited. The consumer research covers a nationally representative sample of 1380 Great British adults, aged 18+ who own a house (with or without a mortgage), and was conducted using an online omnibus survey. The research with property valuers across the UK was conducted by telephone.