1) The fine asbestos fibres are easily inhaled, and can cause a number of respiratory complaints, including a potentially serious lung fibrosis called asbestosis. Exposure to asbestos has also been determined to cause a very serious form of cancer, mesothelioma, that occurs in the chest and abdominal cavities. This aggressive disease is not properly referred to as a lung cancer, as the malignant cells are derived from the mesothelium, a tissue found on the inner walls of the chest and abdominal cavities and on the outer surface of the lungs rather than in the lung itself.
Asbestos is carcinogenic. In the United States alone, it is estimated that ten thousand people die each year of asbestos-related diseases, such as mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer, and gastrointestinal cancer. In the United States, asbestos was one of the first hazardous air pollutants regulated under Section 112 of the Clean Air Act of 1970.