Health and Home: DIY Awareness Campaign

At this time of year there are a number of campaigns about Christmas light safety, and reminders of what can go wrong when people take part in DIY around the home. DIY can have unexpected results. For example, when I was pregnant with my eldest (we’re talking 2006) I took it upon myself while home alone during maternity leave to gloss a door. No big deal, it’s a door, what could possibly go wrong? Put it this way, despite being super careful I somehow manage to paint the door, myself the living room carpet, the hall carpet, lino in the bathroom and the bath.

I put sheets down and everything so I’ve no idea what was wrong but needless to say it was a DIY disaster and that I am not allowed to paint anymore. On the upside I did manage to get a new carpet out of my misfortune…..

Some DIY disasters however are not so quickly and easily dealt with. Once more we as a nation are taking up our sandpaper, our paintbrushes and ripping back upholstery in a bid to make do and mend, to create bespoke pieces for our homes and to enjoy a spot of upcycling. I am a huge fan of upcycling myself. It saves money, it’s great to put your own stamp on things, it keeps things out of the landfill (the same reason I use Freecycle when I can) and it’s fun!

Judging however by the rising number of mesothelioma claims that have arisen as a result of home DIY, there is definitely a downside if you don’t know what you’re doing.

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According to data offered by Slater and Gordon Lawyers:

  • 33% of people surveyed are happy to upcycle old/antique furniture, yet only a tiny 1% would consider this an extreme risk to their health.
  • 45% of people surveyed would happily drill into walls, however only 5% of people consider this an extreme risk to their health.
  • A huge 48% stated that they were ‘not concerned’ about a health-related problem (e.g. breathing difficulties, nausea, skin irritation etc.)

While drilling, hammering and the usual DIY tasks are all of course potentially dangerous in their own right, what is causing the most concern to professionals is the fact that without knowing it many individuals are opening up old furniture which may well contain asbestos. Asbestos, as you might know may cause a number of health-related concerns if precautions are not taken when handling it.

A recent campaign which looks to open up people’s eyes to the potential for harm that comes from upcycling old furniture while not being aware of the risks is doing great things for spreading awareness. More can be found on Twitter on the #HealthandHome hashtag and via the handy infographic below.


Don’t give up on upcycling, far from it! Just make sure that you stay safe while you’re doing it.

PS: I did not paint the carpet on purpose to get a new one. Just so we’re clear on that.

Thanks to Slater and Gordon Lawyers for the information and for running this campaign which will help keep us DIY fans safe.