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Craig Phillips, winner of the British edition of the reality show “Big Brother”, has joined with the British Lung Foundation (BLF) as a spokesman. Mr. Phillips is also the host of the do-it-yourself (DIY) home remodeling television show “The Sixty Minute Makeover”. He is working with the BLF to raise asbestos awareness among British homeowners. As part of the campaign, Mr. Phillips reportedly has said that homeowners should be aware that homes constructed as recently as twenty years ago could contain asbestos.
Since the early years of the twentieth century, asbestos was a common component in many home construction materials. The mineral fibers were often used in wall insulation, ceiling tiles and carpet adhesives. Asbestos fibers are both highly toxic and friable, which means that materials laced with asbestos often break easily and release microscopic particles of the deadly mineral into the air. As more homeowners attempt to save money by carrying out their own renovation projects, they may run the risk of inadvertently exposing themselves to the dangerous fibers.
Mr. Phillips also reportedly said that homeowners should understand two key facts about asbestos before attempting a home renovation project. First, they must be able to identify asbestos in their construction materials. A recent survey by the BLF showed that nearly two-thirds of all British homeowners could not identify asbestos. Mr. Phillips told the media that the most common form of asbestos comes as white or light gray fibers, a variety of the mineral known as “chrysotile”. “They also come in blue and pink,” he added.
Second, the homeowners must understand how best to deal with the toxic fibers. The same BLF survey revealed that over three-fourths of British homeowners had never been informed about how to handle asbestos-laced materials in their homes. One piece of advice the Foundation offers is that homeowners should never cut, saw, sand or drill any materials that may contain asbestos. Such actions will create airborne asbestos dust particles, which can be highly carcinogenic.
Also, if homeowners discover asbestos-containing materials in their house, they should seek out a licensed asbestos removal company to handle the tasks of removing, disposing and transporting the materials. These professionals understand the best methods to handle the materials while still preserving the health of the homeowners and the safety of the environment.
If homeowners encounter asbestos-laced debris, the BLF advises that they do not try to dispose of it in a waste bin or with a vacuum cleaner. These tasks will also stir up the fibers. Instead, they should water down the debris to prevent the dust from rising, and then call an asbestos remediation firm to have their professional workers remove the toxic materials.
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