Asbestos, which is a major air pollutant is a group of impure magnesium silicate minerals which occur in fibrous form. The most common type of asbestos is white. Other types may be blue, gray, or brown. It is used mostly in building materials, heat-resistant fabrics, packaging, gaskets, and coatings. It is also used as fire retardant because of its fiber strength and heat resistant properties. Asbestos containing materials are disturbed by cutting, sanding, overhauling or other remodeling activities. These activities can release asbestos into the air. If breathed into the lungs in large quanities or over an extended period of time, it can endanger one’s health.
Airborne asbestos fibers when inhaled into the lungs can cause significant health problems including mesothelioma, lung cancer and gastrointestinal cancer. Airborne exposure to asbestos may occur through the erosion of natural deposits in asbestos-bearing rocks, from a variety of asbestos-related industries, or from clutches and brakes on cars and trucks. Asbestos exposure from break clutches and brake pads on cars and trucks is one of the major reasons for the large number of asbestos litigation cases in the U.S.