At Asbestos Justice we have represented many asbestos disease sufferers who have had the misfortune of developing different asbestos related conditions as a result of being exposed to harmful amounts of asbestos dust when working in the painting and decorating industry.
Asbestos content was often prevalent in decorative coating finishes used to seal ceilings in homes and businesses. Artex was one such material which was regularly used in painting and decorating work during the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s. White asbestos or “chrysotile” was often found in this composite product and others, which was being used for fireproofing and strengthening purposes.
Asbestos in UK Homes
The use of white asbestos was not banned in the UK until 1999 and therefore, if you live in a house where such work has been carried out, there is a risk that any decorative coating applied to your ceilings may well contain some asbestos within its make up.
Such a legacy of asbestos materials does leave a risk of homeowners and DIY enthusiasts exposing themselves to harmful amounts of asbestos dust when attending to general maintenance and DIY tasks around the home, particularly in older houses.
Study reveals occupation highest at risk of asbestos exposure
A recent American study from ENVIRON International Corporation seeks to shed light on such dangers. The researchers collated data on drywall dust exposures by overseeing work carried out by specialist contractors and others who visited work sites. In doing so they also applied a mathematical formula to identity “personal breathing zone respirable dust concentrations” for different groups of workers who regularly had cause to carry out sanding tasks in their work. The study looks to amplify the warning that workers exposed to higher concentrations of asbestos dust, will be at a greater risk of developing a variety of asbestos conditions in later life.
The study led by FW Boelter, concluded that, unsurprisingly, drywall specialists such as painters and decorators were found to be at the greatest risk of developing mesothelioma and other asbestos related disease due to asbestos exposure. Generalists who carried out some drywall sanding work had the second highest risk based on the respirable dust levels recorded in their work, followed by DIY enthusiasts and then finally trades people who worked near to those carrying out the sanding work.
The study concluded that such exposure to asbestos could increase the risk of the development of mesothelioma in later life and recommended that in view of the dustiness of such processes, “diligence in the use of readily available source controls” should be utilised to minimise the risk of harm to health in the future.
Increase in Home DIY
Following the UK and European property crash of 2007, it is thought that more and more people have decided to refrain from moving home, resulting in an increased number of people attending to their own property maintenance and home improvement activities. Carrying out sanding tasks as part of such works could present a risk of airborne asbestos dust exposure which people should be fully aware of.