The real danger of asbestos, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is when the fibers get into the air. That is when people in the area can inhale them and they can lead to serious and even fatal heath complications.
This doesn't mean you should not be worried about intact products that you believe contain asbestos. You can have them removed from your home or business. However, the danger is likely not that high if the product isn't breaking apart, fraying, unraveling or crumbling. When that damage starts, that's when the inhalation risks skyrocket and it's time to take immediate action.
What do you do if a product has started to break down? First off, you need to make sure that no one goes in that area, placing it in complete isolation. This especially means keeping children away. For instance, if you find asbestos-based insulation in your attic, stay out of the attic until removal has been completed. Even keep your pets out.
Additionally, try not to disturb the product in any way. Don't walk on it. Don't pull it apart. Don't try to remove it on your own. That last is a lot of people's first reaction. They just want to make the home safe for the family or the business safe for the workers. However, it's very dangerous to disturb it and put that dust in the air, and you shouldn't do it without proper equipment and protective gear.
Have you been exposed to asbestos, perhaps in your workplace, that has led to mesothelioma or other serious complications? If so, be sure you know all about your legal options to seek out compensation.
Source: Inspectapedia, "Asbestos Identification in buildings," accessed Sep. 19, 2017