Asbestos exposure can occur when you live, work or play in an area where asbestos fibers are loose and floating in the air. When you breathe, you breathe in these fibers. When they are long—as most types of asbestos fibers are—your lungs cannot get rid of them through their natural cleaning process.
Asbestos causes many lung problems, including lung cancer and the diseases asbestosis and mesothelioma. Asbestos exposure and sources of it include shingle siding, insulation, pipe coatings, broken cement, floor tiles, etc.
See How to Identify Asbestos.
Avoiding asbestos exposure and sources of asbestos is critical to your health. Mesothelioma is the asbestos-caused cancer that can attack your body in one or more places—your lungs, your abdomen, or sometimes your heart or sex organs. Pleural mesothelioma (of the lungs) is the most common type of asbestos cancer.
Asbestos mesothelioma is the rare and deadly cancer that can develop in people who had prolonged and intense asbestos exposure, and the sources of asbestos were often occupation-related, as with miners, factory workers, auto brake workers—or location-related as in those who lived near mines, factories or with someone who worked in them.
Though most manufacturers voluntarily limit use of asbestos today, it is still found in old buildings and homes, as insulation on pipes and furnaces, in asbestos siding shingles (usually rigid), in certain floor tiles, in some millboard, and in textured paints or other coatings.
Disturbing old materials can release asbestos fibers into the air in your home, which could expose residents to long-term fate of developing asbestos mesothelioma.