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Beware asbestos on decorations

As general manager of the UK Asbestos Training Association (UKATA) I would like to share a shocking fact that is widely known within our industry, but one which many of your readers will surely be unaware of.

During the Forties and Fifties deadly asbestos was widely used in Hollywood films to make fake snow appear more realistic. Many of the snowy favourites, including Wizard Of Oz, featured the film greats of the time doing their thing under a downpour of the potentially lethal carcinogen.

However, these shocking facts don't end there as many household faux-snow products from the era also contained asbestos and there is a possibility some of it may remain on your readers' antique decorations, ready to be released into the air and inhaled when they are displayed this festive season. I'd like to encourage them to be cautious when they decorate and to ensure that any fake snow products don't pre-date the 1950s.

Asbestos causes the rare form of cancer mesothelioma, for which there is no cure.

The substance was used heavily in construction right up to the late Nineties and it is still recognised as the biggest workplace killer in the UK.

CRAIG EVANS

General manager, UKATA

Belfast Telegraph

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