You may recall a while ago I shared with you a piece of furniture that I had saved from a 'skip' pile at a local charity donation centre. Before the weather turned too cold, I got to work sanding down the sideboard so I could get creative. I couldn't wait to get it prepped for some pretty chalk paints.
Whilst I was sanding the sideboard, I started to notice an odd smell. Probably years worth of 'scents' from wherever it had been. I then realised that I had neglected a mask and whatever was lurking in the wood, was probably making its way into my lungs. I stopped sanding (until I got some masks) but it did bring me to think about the safety aspects of DIY and the affects it could have on our health.
With a rise in popularity of upcycling furniture and remodelling, our homes are becoming more beautiful, but what about our health? Aside from the concern of drilling my fingers or dropping a hammer on my foot, I have never really considered that there could be a risk to my long term health when upcycling old furniture.
What do you know about mesothelioma for example? In a survey by Slater and Gordon 30% of the people answered 'don't know' when asked what caused mesothelioma. This type of cancer is actually mostly caused by exposure to asbestos which is more common than we think. Homes built up to the year 2000 could still contain asbestos and with a rise in old furniture making its way into our homes, can we really be sure that we aren't being exposed? Is asbestos really something you think about when putting a picture up on your wall or prettying up that vintage side table that you found in a charity shop? It hasn't been something that has crossed my mind.
With upcycling and DIY on the rise it is all too possible that we are exposing ourselves to asbestos without knowing it. Only 4% of people surveyed by Slater and Gordon's mesothelioma lawyers rated sanding or sawing as a serious health risk and 49% percent had never taken precautions when doing DIY but what could really be in those dusty particles?
I am with the majority because I never would have thought about the dangers of asbestos in the side cabinet that I found and I didn't consider wearing a mask until I started smelling weird stuff. I also had no idea that asbestos caused mesothelioma which is a type of cancer. Although I don't feel the need to do any healthy and safety courses and put 'procedures' in place at home when I am getting creative, I will certainly be more cautious going forward, especially when sanding the furniture that I have found in a skip pile.
Here are some great tips from Slater and Gordon for healthy home improvements.
*Collaborative post with Slater and Gordon.
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