Asbestos is a mineral fiber that occurs in rock and soil and is resistant to heat and corrosion. Because of its fiber strength and heat resistance, asbestos has been used in a variety of construction materials for insulation and as a fire retardant. It has also been used in a range of manufactured goods, such as building materials (roofing shingles, ceiling and floor tiles, paper products, and asbestos cement products), friction products (automobile clutch, brake, and transmission parts), heat-resistant fabrics, packaging, gaskets, and coatings.
While asbestos exposures as short in duration as a few days have caused mesothelioma in people, those most at risk are a result of repeated and long-term exposure. These heavy exposures have occurred in the construction industry, ship repair, during the manufacture of asbestos products and during automotive brake and clutch repair work.
Exposure to asbestos can cause four different types of cancer and several pulmonary conditions:
- Lung Cancer
- Ovarian Cancer
- Laryngeal Cancer
- Diffuse Pleural Thickening
- Pleural Effusion
- Pleural Plaques
Exposure to asbestos occurs thru contact with hazardous products, work in various industries and occupations, via secondary exposure and through the military.