British Lung Foundation

British Lung Foundation

Many workers `asbestos ignorant`

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Source: British Lung Foundation

Tradespeople are putting themselves at risk of an incurable cancer because they don’t know enough about asbestos, says the British Lung Foundation. Asbestos causes a chest cancer called mesothelioma, which kills one person every five hours in the UK. Tradespeople such as builders, plumbers, carpenters, electricians and gas fitters are most at risk of getting this cruel disease. A survey carried out by the British Lung Foundation ahead of Action Mesothelioma Day on February 27th reveals that: less than a third of tradespeople are aware asbestos exposure can cause cancer; only 12% of tradespeople know asbestos exposure can kill them; nearly a third (30%) wrongly believe most asbestos has been removed from UK buildings; three quarters (74%) have had no training in how to deal with asbestos.

DIY expert and TV presenter Craig Phillips, winner of Big Brother 1, is supporting the British Lung Foundation’s call for tradespeople to ‘Be Asbestos Aware’. His uncle Gordon has an asbestos-related lung disease, which has had a debilitating impact on his life.

Twenty tradespeople die of asbestos-related diseases every week and asbestos exposure is Britain’s biggest workplace killer. Mesothelioma develops between 15 and 60 years after exposure to asbestos and the UK will soon face an epidemic of the disease as cases are set to peak between 2011 and 2015.

“It is a great worry that those most at risk of this cruel cancer know so little about a killer that could be lurking in the building they’re working on today,” says Dame Helena Shovelton, Chief Executive of the British Lung Foundation. “We want mesothelioma to become a disease of the past, but until people put their health first, become asbestos aware and protect themselves against asbestos that goal can’t be reached.”

Craig Phillips says: “I am supporting the British Lung Foundation’s campaign because I have seen first hand what asbestos can do and I don’t want anyone else to suffer as my uncle has. I am urging tradespeople to make sure they are asbestos aware and to always stop working and get advice if they think asbestos could be present on their job.”

Craig is currently on our screens on ITV’s Sixty Minute Makeover programme. “Whether you’re sixteen or sixty you’re at risk of asbestos and I think it’s really important that asbestos training becomes a higher priority,” he says.

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