Asbestos is a white, flaky mineral used for its heat resistant properties in various industries including construction, pipe fitting, shipbuilding, and as an insulation. While its physical properties and low cost make it ideal for use in many industrial applications, the mineral is extremely toxic and has a causal link to developing mesothelioma.
Asbestos companies and manufacturers using the material knew about the dangers associates with it but continued using it for years. As a result, hundreds of thousands of victims developed mesothelioma, an extremely rare and deadly form of cancer commonly affecting tissue linings around the lungs and abdomen.
Despite all this, asbestos can still be used in certain products today, like vinyl flooring and cement shingles, though it is heavily regulated. That may soon change as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced adding asbestos to a list of 10 toxic chemicals the agency looks to ban in 2017.