Asbestos: The Biggest DIY Danger You’ve Never Heard Of

It seems like there has been a recent uptick of coverage regarding how asbestos can affect do-it-yourself (DIY) buffs, including this BBC article saying homeowners are “ignorant on asbestos.” In light of this news, we wanted to take a moment to discuss how BAN ties in with the DIY crowd who might be unknowingly at risk for asbestos exposure.

As we’ve mentioned here before, asbestos is all around us. People aren’t just exposed to asbestos at work or by using one of the many products that contain asbestos. The material is in our cars, schools, and yes, throughout our homes.

But what is just as concerning about asbestos in buildings, is the fact that many homeowners are completely unaware of its presence, let alone how to handle it. The process to safely remove asbestos is a long and expensive one, which often requires hiring a professional service to perform the asbestos abatement. Despite these extra safety steps, a survey by the British Lung Foundation found that 45% of homeowners did not even know that asbestos was once widely used as a building material. And this comes from a country that has banned asbestos entirely!

The study also found that 65% of British homeowners were not confident they’d be able to identify asbestos and 77% said they had never received any information on how to manage the substance.

There are so many considerations here that extend beyond the question of “asbestos removal – can you do it yourself?” Above all else, this is a perfect example of the extent of the world’s asbestos problem. People don’t know about the health risks of asbestos (the most notorious asbestos exposure symptom being the development of mesothelioma) let alone the hazards they face in their own homes when embarking on DIY projects like fixing a wall, replacing tiles or rummaging around an attic with asbestos insulation.

Asbestos is all around us. It’s becoming more and more clear that we need to raise awareness about its dangers and urge Congress to ban this cancer-causing material altogether to keep it out of our homes.