Toronto, Ontario, Canada - Internationally acclaimed contractor and star of HGTV's popular “Holmes on Homes” program, Mike Holmes urges contractors, handymen and do-it-yourselfers to use proper protection while working in a new piece for the National Post. Conditions within a home or building may not be entirely known, and working without protective gear may cause some severe health conditions.
To Holmes, it is not a laughing matter. According to Holmes, some older, more experienced contractors remember working on job sites where it was known asbestos was present and no one on the crew wore protective gear. These contractors “joke about it now that they know the risks: 'there goes 10 years off my life.'”
Breathing in toxic air or miniscule particles of asbestos, mold or lead paint may lead to serious respiratory problems and other diseases. Despite the widespread knowledge that exposure to and breathing in asbestos, mold or lead paint particles may lead to cancer, Holmes said that many experienced contractors still do not use proper protective gear or respirators while on the job. Doing so further jeopardizes their health and may exacerbate underlying health conditions.
In his piece for the National Post, Holmes also notes that for some contractors, the option of using protective equipment on the job may be cost prohibitive. Not only is the gear expensive, but “being properly trained to use them takes time and money.”
Being constantly and repeatedly exposed to such carcinogens as asbestos does have a long term impact not only on respiratory health but overall health. Exposure to asbestos is linked to a lethal form of cancer called mesothelioma, where nearly invisible asbestos particles are inhaled and embed into the lung tissue. In some rare cases, these small asbestos particles may embed into the delicate protective tissue surrounding the heart or in the abdominal cavity. Though it can take decades for mesothelioma to appear, the disease is fast acting.
Regardless of whether the project is professional or amateur, it is critical that everyone involved wear protective masks and gear. For some, wearing a half or full mask with or without a respirator is cumbersome and may make the job harder.
According to Holmes, no job is worth risking your lungs.