Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous mineral found in rocks. Its heat-resistance and insulating properties when combined with other ingredients yielded products which were strong, long-lasting, and fire-resistant. From the 1950s to the 1980s, materials containing asbestos were used in a wide range of manufactured products, and commonly used across industries such as construction and shipbuilding.
Small asbestos fibres and clumps of asbestos fibres may be released into the air as dust when disturbed or handled. Once airborne these tiny fibres can become trapped in the lungs if inhaled. Over time these fibres can cause serious inflammation, breathing difficulties and can cause serious health side-effects, such as
The diseases described above do not respond well to current medical treatment and, as a result, are often fatal.