Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fibre that was used in many products in the building industry for its strength, insulating properties and resistance to fire and erosion.
A national ban of all asbestos products occurred in 2003 due to the health risks associated with their use. Damaged material containing asbestos can generate dust which can be inhaled and produce illness.
Asbestos related illness usually occurs many years after exposure.
The majority of people who have developed asbestos-related diseases have been exposed to relatively large number of fibres as a result of ongoing occupational exposure.