Since asbestos had proven to be effective for use in many products, especially because of its heat resistance and durability, it was widely used to make insulating materials, including insulation coating that was used in residential and commercial construction. However, asbestos is also hazardous.
These insulation coating materials, which were often used on boilers and pipes, can be safe as long as they stay in one piece and in good condition so that the asbestos fibers are not allowed to get into the air. But any kind of physical disturbance of the material can release asbestos fibers into the air where they can be inhaled or taken into the body in some other manner.
The risks are highest for people who worked in the industries that manufactured these materials that contained asbestos or in the type of industries where the finished products were used, like construction or shipbuilding. One of the results of asbestos exposure is mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer that affects the lining of the chest and lungs. Two decades or more can pass between the first exposure to asbestos and the appearance of symptoms.