A large number of products containing asbestos were used widely in the construction business during the 20th century up until the 1980s. It was used in both private homes and commercial buildings. Products made with asbestos were put nearly everywhere that insulation was required, like in walls, floors, ceilings, and around furnaces, pipes and boilers.

A number of asbestos roofing products like tar paper were put into millions of homes in this country, particularly in the post-World War II housing boom. By the 1960s its usage reached the commercial sector, resulting in thousands of factories, commercial facilities, schools, and other buildings also containing tar paper.

It is estimated that 10,000 people in this county die every year from diseases related to asbestos exposure. Between 2,000 and 3,000 new cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed every year, nearly all of them directly attributable to asbestos exposure.  Many of those with mesothelioma and other illnesses were likely exposed to asbestos fibers decades ago, either when they worked with the tar paper or while they were living in a house with tar paper roofing material.

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