Asbestos was used in construction up until the 1970s. It is a mineral fiber that was used in different types of products to give them added strength. It was also used because it provided fire resistance and heat insulation. These are all benefits required in construction so its easy to see why it was used so much before they were aware of the dangers.
What are the dangers? Asbestos is known to cause some very serious health issues such as mesothelioma a form of lung cancer and asbestosis which is a scarring in the lungs. While people with these types of health conditions have usually been exposed to large amounts of asbestos fibers over a period of time, its certainly not something we want to be exposed to in our homes. So, how could we become exposed to asbestos fibers? This usually happens when materials that contain asbestos are disturbed due to handling, sanding, scraping etc. which releases very small asbestos fibers into the air. When inhaled, these fibers stay in the lungs for a long time increasing the risk of disease.
As we can see, then, asbestos is not a material you want to handle yourself so its best to seek advice if you suspect there is asbestos in your home.