Asbestos is a natural occurring mineral that is resistant to heat, fire, electrical, chemical, and biological break-down. Pure asbestos fibers are soft, flexible and effective insulators, but they are highly toxic. Prior to 1990, asbestos was used in a wide range of manufactured products including building materials and heat-resistant fabrics.
A highly profitable business, when mixed into cloth, paper, cement, plastic and other materials, asbestos actually makes them stronger.
The most common residential applications of asbestos were insulating buildings and homes against cold weather, and noise. In the commercial, industrial, and institutional sectors, asbestos is often found in cement, plaster, heating systems, building insulation, floor and ceiling tiles. Abestos was also a popular choice for fireproofing many homes and buildings.
Exposure to asbestos can result from a home or building being renovated or demolished, especially, removing insulation that contains asbestos (often found in insulation around hot water pipes and tanks), disturbing roofing shingles or siding containing asbestos, sanding, breaking apart or scraping vinyl floor tiles, ceiling tiles and plaster.