Asbestos risk from your Xmas decorations

As the general manager of the UK Asbestos Training Association, I’d like to share a shocking fact many of your readers will be unaware of.

Christmas decorations
Christmas decorations

During the ’40s and ’50s deadly asbestos was used widely in Hollywood films to make fake snow appear more realistic. Many films, including “Wizard of Oz” and “Holiday Inn”, starring Bing Crosby, featured actors under a downpour of the potentially lethal carcinogen.

Many household, faux-snow products from the era also contained asbestos and some of it may remain on your antique decorations, ready to be released into the air and inhaled when displayed this festive season. Be cautious when you decorate and ensure any fake snow products don’t pre-date the 1950s.

Asbestos causes the rare form of cancer, mesothelioma, for which there is still no cure. The victim is only made aware of the fatal consequences later in life.

The substance was used heavily in construction up to the late ’90s and is still the biggest work place killer in the UK. Training for its safe removal is available from UKATA but many homeowners are unaware of the risks.


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Craig Evans