Posted on May 25, 2023

Asbestos Fact Sheet

What is Asbestos? Asbestos refers to a group of naturally occurring mineral fibers that were widely used in various industries due to their heat resistance, durability, and insulating properties. Asbestos was commonly used in construction materials, insulation, automotive parts, and other products. It is still being imported and used in the United States today. 

Health Risks: Exposure to asbestos can lead to serious health risks, including:

  1. Asbestosis: A chronic lung disease caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibers, resulting in lung tissue scarring and breathing difficulties.
  2. Mesothelioma: A rare and aggressive form of cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, abdomen, or heart. It is primarily caused by asbestos exposure and has a long latency period of 20-50 years.
  3. Lung Cancer: Asbestos exposure increases the risk of developing lung cancer, particularly in smokers.
  4. Other Cancers: Asbestos exposure has also been linked to cancers of the larynx, ovary, and other organs.

Exposure Routes: Asbestos exposure can occur through:

  1. Inhalation: Breathing in asbestos fibers present in the air due to their release from damaged or deteriorating asbestos-containing materials.
  2. Ingestion: Swallowing asbestos fibers, usually from contaminated food or water.

Occupational Risks: Workers in certain industries have a higher risk of asbestos exposure, including:

  1. Construction workers
  2. Shipbuilders
  3. Automotive mechanics
  4. Insulation installers
  5. Firefighters
  6. Power plant workers

Prevention and Awareness: To prevent asbestos exposure and asbestos-related diseases, it is essential to:

  1. Identify and Manage Asbestos-Containing Materials: Conduct proper inspections and assessments to identify and safely manage asbestos-containing materials in homes, workplaces, and public buildings. Leave undamaged asbestos-containing materials alone and avoid disturbing them.
  2. Safe Handling and Removal: Asbestos removal should be done by certified professionals following established safety protocols with the proper equipment.
  3. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Use appropriate PPE, such as respirators and protective clothing, when working with or around asbestos-containing materials.

Asbestos Awareness Disease Organization (ADAO): The Asbestos Awareness Disease Organization (ADAO) is a non-profit advocacy group dedicated to raising awareness about the dangers of asbestos and advocating for a worldwide asbestos ban. ADAO provides educational resources, support for patients and families affected by asbestos, and promotes research and advocacy efforts to prevent asbestos-related diseases. For more information, visit their website at

Disclaimer: This fact sheet is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical or legal advice. Consult with professionals for specific concerns related to asbestos exposure or related health issues.