According to mesothelioma.com, asbestos was used as early as ancient Greece, and in ancient Rome as a building material. It was also used in the fabric to make clothing.
The material became popular again during the industrial revolution because it was found to have fire and heat resistance properties. It was found useful as an insulator, especially around pipes. According to mesothelioma.com:
During the Industrial Revolution, asbestos found new uses in factories and other heavy industries throughout the United States and abroad. Asbestos found use not only in factories, but also in oil refineries, chemical plants, on railroad cars, and in shipyards. Asbestos materials were used to insulate pipes and boilers in steam locomotives, to line tanks and ovens in refineries, and could be found literally everywhere aboard the nation’s ships, from engine rooms to galleys. As the twentieth century progressed, more uses for asbestos were found. It was used in the brakes and clutches of automobiles, insulated America’s new skyscrapers, and was used extensively in the construction industry, where it was used in asbestos products like joint compounds, cements, roofing shingles, ceiling and floor tiles, siding, stucco, plaster, and much more. Those workers at risk included any that worked in an asbestos-heavy industry or frequently handled these products.Any person who comes into contact with the material is at risk for developing mesothelioma, including electricians, plumbers, boilermakers, carpenters, mechanics, and machinists. The material was also used during WWII and the Vietnam War, particularly on warships and submarines. While anyone in the military -- army, navy, air force and marines -- may have been exposed, those in the Navy were at the greatest risk.
On December 22, 1979, Steve McQueen, one of the best guy actors of all time, and the top box office draw during the 1960s and 70s, was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma. It was later revealed to him that asbestos was used in the auto racing suits he used during his car racing days.
|Asbestos was wrapped around pipes in homes and schools.|
Likewise, housewives, or anyone washing the material that contained asbestos , are also at risk of second hand exposure to asbestos, and therefore are also at risk for developing mesothelioma.
By the time the public became aware of the dangers of asbestos exposure in 1980, it was too late: the material was everywhere.