For decades asbestos was commonly used in the making of products used for construction. One example of these products is floor backing, which is a protective sheet installed beneath hardwood floors as well as tile flooring, carpet, and linoleum. Since asbestos was so frequently used to make floor backing, there are likely still structures today that have it in place.
Fortunately, regulations are in place and asbestos is no longer used in construction-related products like floor backing. Eventually, the dangers of asbestos became widely known and its use stopped. The product was popular because its fibers are strong and long lasting. The fibers are also thin and are easily inhaled into the lungs. Once inside the body, they can become lodged in the lining of major organs called the mesothelium and the body has no way to get rid of them. The result is sometimes an aggressive form of cancer called mesothelioma.
Thousands of people have probably been exposed to asbestos since so many homes and public buildings used floor backing and other construction products made from asbestos. Those involved in the manufacturing and installation of the product were exposed, as well as the people living and working in these buildings.