Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral composed of flexible fibers that are resistant to heat, electricity and corrosion.
These qualities make the mineral useful, but also make asbestos exposure highly toxic.
Asbestos was widely used in construction as an effective insulator, and it can be added to cloth, paper, cement, plastic and other materials to make them stronger. But when asbestos dust is inhaled or ingested, the fibers can become permanently trapped in the body. Over decades, trapped asbestos fibers can cause inflammation, scarring and eventually genetic damage.
Consumers might wonder how dangerous asbestos is. Unfortunately, exposure to asbestos can cause cancer and other health conditions. A rare and aggressive cancer called mesothelioma is almost exclusively caused by asbestos exposure. Asbestos also causes a progressive lung disease called asbestosis. Asbestos also causes lung cancer.