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Former England Star Backing Asbestos Campaign

February 3, 2015
Health and Safety

Former England international Stuart Pearce is backing the Health & Safety Executives latest asbestos campaign after he revealed he may have been exposed to potentially fatal fibres before he became a professional footballer.

“I was working as an electrician for four and a half years and it’s chilling to think I could have been exposed to it without knowing, we were simply ignorant about the risks back then,” said Pearce. “Today there’s no excuse – most people know how dangerous asbestos is but many think it’s a thing of the past, it’s not, it’s still there.  It can be found in walls, ceilings, even floor tiles and guttering – basically in any type of building built before the year 2000.”

Despite improvements in knowledge about the dangers, HSE estimates that 1.3 million workers are still potentially at risk of exposure to asbestos. Deaths from mesothelioma which principally affects the external lining of the lung directly related to previous asbestos exposure are expected to continue rising until beyond 2020.

The import and use of blue (crocidolite) and brown (amosite) asbestos was banned in the UK in 1985, white asbestos (chrysotile) continued to be used until 1999. The HSE’s recent campaign includes the provision of free asbestos safety kits and a free web app to help people work more safely with the material.