Asbestos Information

We’ve gathered asbestos information and resources to help you learn more about the mineral and what to do if you encounter it.

Content Contributors

Scroll

Written By

Edited By

This page features: 11 cited research articles

Asbestos is a mineral that was incorporated into thousands of domestic, commercial and industrial products. Millions of American workers were exposed to asbestos throughout the 20th century, and every year approximately 39,000 Americans die of asbestos-related diseases.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has regulated six types of asbestos, but the mineral has not been banned in the U.S.

Though once contested, it has been scientifically proven that exposure to any type of asbestos can cause mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive cancer.

Learn More About Asbestos

Information about Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos exposure is the No. 1 cause of work-related deaths in the world. Information about asbestos-related diseases shows lung cancer is the most common, followed by mesothelioma, ovarian cancer and asbestosis.

  • Most asbestos exposure happens on the job when people work with asbestos products.

  • Microscopic asbestos fibers can become airborne through work-related tasks, environmental disturbance or natural disasters.

  • The human body can expel some inhaled or ingested asbestos fibers, but some fibers become stuck. Over time, these fibers cause genetic damage that lead to asbestos-related diseases.

Where Does Asbestos Exposure Happen?

Asbestos exposure primarily happens in workplaces such as factories, manufacturing plants, mills, chemical plants and power plants. Because asbestos was so widely used in construction materials, exposure can also occur in public buildings such as schools, shopping centers and government buildings.

Asbestos exposure has been a serious ongoing concern in the following places:

Asbestos.com Mesothelioma Guide

Exposed to Asbestos? Get Our Mesothelioma Guide

Detailed information on mesothelioma, books, support wristbands and more for patients & caregivers.

Get Your Free Guide

Secondary Exposure

Many workers who used asbestos on the job unknowingly brought asbestos home on their work clothes, shoes, skin and hair. Anyone who lived with an asbestos worker was at risk of exposure. This is called secondary exposure and it is responsible for many cases of mesothelioma in women and children.

Learn More About Secondary Exposure

Major Asbestos Manufacturers

More than 70 U.S. companies have manufactured or distributed asbestos products. Throughout the 20th century, these companies used asbestos resources to make a wide variety of products. At least 60 asbestos companies have filed for bankruptcy as a result of asbestos litigation.

Top U.S. asbestos manufacturers include:

Occupational Exposure

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, more than 75 occupational groups exposed workers to asbestos. The workers most at risk of occupational exposure include:

Asbestos Products

Asbestos was incorporated into thousands of products before regulations were implemented in the 1970s. The most common products were used in construction, manufacturing and industrial work.

Common asbestos-containing products include:

Current Asbestos Use

Even though more than 60 countries have banned asbestos, data shows the mineral is heavily traded around the globe. The U.S. has not banned asbestos and it is importing more raw asbestos compared to previous years.

Asbestos legislation has regulated asbestos in the U.S., but the Environmental Protection Agency said in June 2018 that it would consider new uses of asbestos with a review process.

Past usage of asbestos continues to place Americans at risk of exposure. For example, New Yorkers were exposed to asbestos in the wake of the 9/11 attacks because asbestos insulation was used in the World Trade Center.

Asbestos Resources

Asbestos resources offer scientifically proven information about the mineral including what it is, the diseases it causes and how you can avoid exposure.

Valuable resources and websites for asbestos information:

If you think you’ve encountered an asbestos product, do not touch it or disturb it in any way. Call a licensed asbestos abatement company for their professional opinion and guidance.

If you’ve been exposed to asbestos in the past, monitor your health closely and tell your primary care physician about your history of exposure. Ask for annual health screenings for cancer and lung disease. Taking these proactive steps may identify early signs of disease and open the door for more effective treatment.

Free Help Finding a Specialist

Get Help Now
Asbestos.com Mesothelioma Packet

Learn About Treatment

Get a Free Guide

Qualify for Free Medical Care

See If You Qualify

Share this article

Last Modified December 10, 2018

Writer

Daniel King joined Asbestos.com in 2017. He comes from a military family and attended high school on a military base. He feels a close connection to veterans, military families and the many hardships they face. As an investigative writer with interests in mesothelioma research and environmental issues, he seeks to educate others about the dangers of asbestos exposure to protect them from the deadly carcinogen linked to asbestos-related conditions. Daniel also holds several certificates in health writing from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Walter Pacheco, Managing Editor at Asbestos.com
Edited by
Reviewed by placeholder
Medical Review By

9 Cited Article Sources

  1. NIOSH. (2017, June 28). National Occupational Exposure Survey.
    Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/noes/
  2. ATSDR. (2016, November 3). Asbestos and Your Health.
    Retrieved from: https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/asbestos/index.html
  3. OSHA. (n.d.). Asbestos Overview.
    Retrieved from: https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/asbestos/
  4. EPA. (n.d.). Asbestos.
    Retrieved from: https://www.epa.gov/asbestos
  5. NCI. (2017, June 7). Asbestos Exposure and Cancer Risk.
    Retrieved from: https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/substances/asbestos/asbestos-fact-sheet
  6. Inspectapedia. (n.d.). Master List of Asbestos Producing Companies.
    Retrieved from: https://inspectapedia.com/hazmat/Asbestos_Producing_Companies.php
  7. Minnesota Department of Health. (n.d.). Common Asbestos-Containing Products.
    Retrieved from: http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/asbestos/products/
  8. Business Wire. (2018, April 16). ADAO Announces New Findings that Show Asbestos-Related Deaths Estimated at More than Double Previously Reported in the United States.  
    Retrieved from: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20180416005884/en/ADAO-Announces-New-Findings-Show-Asbestos-Related-Deaths
  9. International Ban Asbestos Secretariat. (2018, June 22). Current Asbestos Bans.   Retrieved from: http://www.ibasecretariat.org/lka_alpha_asb_ban_280704.php
  •  
  •  
  •  

Did this article help you?

Did this article help you?

Thank you for your feedback. Would you like to speak with a Patient Advocate?

On This Page

Back to Top

On This Page

Content Contributors

Share Our Page

Free Awareness Wristbands

Get free mesothelioma wristbands to show support for a loved one

Get your wristbands Mesothelioma Wristbands
Chat live with a patient advocate now loading spinner