You may already know that some Vintage Christmas decorations may contain asbestos.
But did you know that by decorating your home with them, you could be putting yourself and your family at risk?
It was very popular in the 1940’s for Christmas decorations such as baubles, ornaments and wreaths to be filled with fake snow that contained the deadly asbestos fibers.
Experts are warning that by putting these vintage decorations up around your home, and scattering the fake snow around, that you are endangering your loved ones or anyone living in the house.
So if you or anyone else you know (especially those people of the older generation) own any of these old Christmas decorations containing the fake snow, then you are urged to dispose of them safely.
You won’t be able to just throw them in the bin with your regular household waste either. They will need to be taken to your local waste disposal facility that accepts asbestos waste. Please contact your local council for advice and guidance.
Amongst the most popular of the fake snow brands were ‘Pure White’, ‘Snow Drift’ and ‘White Magic’.
Although the fake snow is no longer made in this country, as production ceased many years ago during the time of the second world war, it is feared that many people may still be using these vintage Christmas decorations, blissfully unaware of the dangers.
UKATA, The UK Asbestos Training Association, are urging members of the public to replace these vintage Christmas decorations if they have them in their homes.
The Manager of UKATA, Craig Evans, said, “In the 1930’s and 1940’s asbestos was used in abundance to create fake snow – products called Pure White, White Magic and Snow Drift were common in department stores and even in people’s homes.”
“Children played with it. Anyone who had any contact with this material was inhaling asbestos fibers in quantities normally associated only with those who worked in asbestos mines.”
“The use of asbestos-based fake snow stopped with the Second World War when tonnes of asbestos was needed for insulation on ships, planes and other military uses.”
“But Christmas decorations it was used on may still exist. Households up and down the country may still have decorations from that era that they keep in the loft until Christmas comes round.”
“People might be completely oblivious to the fact that each year they could be running the risk of inhaling deadly asbestos fibers from their old decorations.”
“What’s more, it’s estimated around 1.5 million homes in the UK have asbestos in them and if people are storing Christmas decorations in their lofts underneath loose-fill asbestos insulation it could be dropping onto them.”
“Asbestos dust which may settle on their tree and decorations, which will ultimately spread throughout their home whilst putting up their decorations.”
Craig went on to say, “It’s impossible to know how many people could potentially be exposing themselves to asbestos each Christmas.”
“Our warning is to replace any antique decorations that have fake snow on them with new decorations. They might not look quite as nice but they are guaranteed to be safe.”
“Anyone who thinks they have asbestos-laced decorations should contact their local authority which can advise on how to dispose of them in the proper way.”
“Asbestos in Christmas decorations is not something many people will be thinking of this festive season but it’s a very serious danger that should not be underestimated.”
Duty holders and employers have a legal responsibility to manage asbestos in their building so as not to put employees at risk. Contact our Armco office for asbestos management and refurbishment/ demolition surveys on 0161 763 3727 or by visiting https://www.armco.org.uk/
Alternatively, for all your asbestos training needs call 0161 761 4424 or visit https://www.armcoasbestostraining.co.uk/ for more information or to book a training course.