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Exposure can happen wherever asbestos is present: At home, a public building such as a school or government office, a war fought on foreign soil or on the job. Asbestos is a mineral that is naturally resistant to heat, electricity and chemical corrosion. These qualities made it a great insulator and fireproofing material. Asbestos was incorporated into thousands of products used in domestic, commercial and industrial settings.
That means roofers, carpenters, electricians, plumbers, firefighters, auto mechanics, insulators, factory workers and many others are at a high risk of exposure. For much of the 20th century, until its long-term toxicity became well known, thousands of everyday products used asbestos because it was coveted for its heat resistance, versatility and tensile strength. How Exposure Happens Asbestos disease starts with the inhalation or ingestion of microscopic asbestos fibers. While no level of asbestos exposure is considered safe, most problems arise after years of repeated and long-term exposures to the carcinogen. Environmental and secondary exposure to asbestos is rarer, but it still happens regularly.