Asbestos is a naturally ocurring mineral made of thin, tightly packed fibres. As it is very strong, asbestos used to be used in the making of insulation, fireproofind and other construction materials. It has been found to pose a risk to health when its fibres become airborne, sometimes causing lung cancer. It is therefore important that you have older building checked for asbestos.
Generally, asbestos was widely used between 1920 and 1989 after which the EPA (environmental protection agency) began regulating it. It can be found in buildings but also within gas heaters, hair dryers, some clothing and in car brakes.
Check for signs of wear or decay – it is hard to tell if you are looking at asbestos just by looking at it, so check out for signs of degradation. Asbestos is only harmful when breaking down, as this is what releases fibres into the air.