Upcycling is big at the moment. There are people around Britain and beyond constantly on the lookout for furniture, clothing and any other ‘junk’ they can breathe new life into. They scour ebay, root in skips and spend my way too much time on car boot apps like Shpock.
If you are one of the many people who love DIY and upcycling, would you ever think that re-covering a 1940s wooden chair has the potential to put your health at risk? What about drilling into a wall? How about DIY in general?
In a survey of 2000 Brits carried out by solicitors Slater Gordon, they found that 33% are quite happy to upcycle old/antique furniture, yet only 1% would consider it an extreme risk to their health.
You’re probably one of the 33%.
Why is this type of upcycling risky? Because a lot of furniture made between the 1930s and the 1960s contain asbestos. Manufacturers used it to provide the cushioning support. When you work on a project like this, you’ll likely disturb the asbestos fibres, release dust into the air the breathe the dangerous particles into your body. That’s when the damage happens. In some people, breathing in asbestos can cause fatal diseases.
It’ a scary thought, isn’t it?
How about drilling into a wall? What are the hidden dangers lurking behind the surface of beautifully decorated wall? The two main ones are water pipes and electricity cables. In the survey, only 5% of people asked consider drilling into a wall an extreme risk to their health, and 45% of the people surveyed said they happily drill into walls.
Another interesting stat from the survey is that 48% of people asked said they had no concerns about a health related problem such as breathing difficulties, nausea or skin irritation.
Sadly, danger is all around you when working on DIY projects. This shouldn’t discourage you from taking part in one of the most popular hobbies in the UK, but it’s in your own interest to be aware of the pitfalls.
Take a look at this infographic to find out more about the hidden dangers of DIY and how to avoid hurting yourself and others.
Infographic created by Slater Gordon, a UK law firm dealing with mesothelioma claims.