Awareness & Research

Take 5 and Stay Alive – Asbestos Awareness in the Home

Written By:
Jun 22, 2012
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Written By: Ben Leer,
June 22, 2012

We like to thank the British Lung Foundation (BLF) for their campaign to raise awareness on conditions that can lead to lung diseases. Unfortunately, asbestos exposure has occurred worldwide and the British Health and Safety Executive estimates that 4,000 deaths occur annually due to mesothelioma and asbestos-related diseases. Thank you to the members of BLF and all that raise awareness about mesothelioma and asbestos.

This week is ‘Breathe Easy Week’, the flagship campaign week for the UK lung health charity the British Lung Foundation. Each year, a different theme is chosen for the week, which Breathe Easy groups (BLF support groups for people affected by lung or respiratory disease) use as the basis for an array of awareness events around the UK. This year, the focus is the BLF’s ‘Take 5 and Stay Alive’ campaign, which aims to raise awareness of the hazard posed by asbestos to people doing home renovations, and to offer advice to help people carry out improvements around the house safely.

Asbestos was only banned as a building material in Britain in 1999, and could be present in any building in Britain that was built or renovated before then. It was used in a variety of ways in domestic settings, including in wall cavities, in ceiling and floor tiles, and around pipes, toilets and boilers.

A recent British Lung Foundation survey showed that 67% of British adults could not confidently identify asbestos around the house, while 78% did not know that all asbestos use finally ceased as recently as the 1990s. Such figures reinforce the need for there to be greater awareness of the asbestos as a potential hazard in a domestic setting.

The Take 5 and Stay Alive campaign aims to get people to take a step back for 5 minutes before they do work on their home, and think about whether they might be at risk of encountering asbestos. The campaign began in March of this year with a series of TV commercials, and for Breathe Easy week, a range of advice and support materials have been produced. These include a website where people can get all the facts about asbestos free before they get to work on their house.

Home improvements can really put a personal stamp on a home, often even more so if you do it yourself. The purpose of BLF’s Take 5 and Stay Alive campaign is to help people make these renovations safely, fully aware of where they might encounter asbestos, what it looks like, and what to do if they find it.

For more information, visit

British Lung Foundation Guest PostPatrick Pringle

Press & Campaigns Officer

British Lung Foundation

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