Asbestos is the name given to a group of naturally occurring mineral fibres found in rock formations. All forms of asbestos are carcinogenic to humans. Asbestos becomes a risk to health if fibres are released into the air and breathed into the lungs. Exposure to asbestos fibres causes cancer of the lung, larynx, ovaries and mesothelioma (a cancer of the pleural and peritoneal linings). Asbestos exposure is also responsible for other diseases such as asbestosis (fibrosis of the lungs).
In Australia asbestos was used in a wide range of building products and materials up until the late 1980s. The use, import and export of asbestos containing materials was prohibited in Australia at the end of 2003.
There are a number of websites you can visit to learn about asbestos.
Reviewed 30 September 2020