These days, all you hear about asbestos is how dangerous it is, and with good reason. It can lead to an aggressive and often fatal cancer known as mesothelioma. Even in less drastic cases, it leads to serious respiratory issues. It’s been banned for a reason, and it’s not something to take lightly.

That may lead you to wonder, however, why it was used in the first place. There were a few reasons that companies utilized this mineral resource.

It’s a natural element found in rocks, so it could simply be mined. It’s also fairly plentiful, to the point that there is usually a very low asbestos concentration in the air.

It is a good insulator, something that was important as people moved into houses. Even the ancient Greeks used it. It’s also durable and does not erode easily.

It does not burn easily at all. Fires are still a threat today, but they used to be a far more significant threat when whole cities would catch on fire as the flames spread between closely packed wood buildings.

It can be used in many materials. In modern times, it’s often associated with building materials, but it has also been used in clothing.

The problem is that the risk far outweighs the advantages. Over and over, asbestos has been shown to be a deadly material and a significant health risk for anyone who is exposed to it.

Have you been exposed to asbestos, perhaps by a company or an individual who put the usefulness above the risk? If so, it is critical for you to know all of the legal options you have. Diseases developed after this exposure are often life-threatening.

Source: How Stuff Works, “What Does Asbestos Look Like?,” Tiffany Connors, accessed Feb. 02, 2018