q The Dangers of DIY, and How to Prevent Them - Harcourt Health

The Dangers of DIY, and How to Prevent Them

It doesn’t take much to encourage us to participate in a bit of light DIY. When we buy a new home, it’s so tempting to jump straight in, and knock that wall down, and repaint the whole downstairs.

But we never stop and think about the impact DIY has on our health. Slater and Gordon have recently conducted a survey that shows just how much we don’t know about DIY.48% of people are unconcerned about the risks posed to us by doing lots of DIY.

A huge 45% of people said they would drill into walls, but only 5% thought this could harm us. However, in reality, there are loads of dangers lurking within the walls. If your house was built between 1930 and 1980, it will more than likely contain asbestos. Though this is fine if it remains untouched, moving it about releases the tiny fibres which are harmful to us.

Asbestos was used because it’s fireproof, and for that reason was installed in thousands of office buildings and homes. It was officially banned in 1999, but still remains in our houses. In severe cases it can cause lung cancer and mesothelioma.

Even if you aren’t doing work as extensive as knocking down or drilling into walls, you should still be careful when painting surfaces. You should correctly remove any tiles or wallpaper beforehand. If there’s mould growing, you should treat it and let the area dry before attempting to paint.

Lots of paints have toxic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which are released not only when the paint is drying, but also over the years. Buying a natural, low VOC paint would be a good choice, especially when painting your children’s rooms.

A quarter of people said they would saw large piece of MDF, with a mere 4% claiming this can cause harm. In fact, MDF contains many harmful substances, including formaldehyde, a carcinogen that can create many respiratory problems.

You can stop MDF and asbestos fibres by wearing a hazard mask when drilling into walls or MDF. You should also consider having an asbestos survey before undergoing work.

Have you ever suffered from health issues because of DIY?