England legend expresses asbestos illness fears

29th January 2015

Ex-England hero Stuart Pearce is backing the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) asbestos awareness campaign, after revealing he was probably exposed to the deadly dust as a tradesman in his pre-footballing days.

The Nottingham Forest manager, who earned the affectionate nickname ‘Psycho’ during his playing career, spent four years in the early 1980s as an apprentice electrician with Brent Council. However, he did not realise that whilst rewiring a variety of buildings, he may have unknowingly come into contact with asbestos and now has fears of developing lung cancer.

Pearce revealed in mirror.co.uk that he remembers receiving safety briefings on hats and boots, but doesn’t “recall asbestos mentioned once. It’s chilling to think of the risks we were exposed to”.

He is now backing the HSE’s Every Job Beware Asbestos campaign, which aims to raise awareness of the dangers which still exist today. Around 1.3 million workers are still at risk of exposure to asbestos, which can lead to the incurable disease, mesothelioma. Some 20 people die each week from related illnesses.

“It’s shocking that people are still being exposed to asbestos today without realising it,” Pearce was quoted by sport.net. “Many people think it’s a thing of the past. It’s not – it’s still here. There’s no excuse for that.”