Asbestos has been used in countless materials. Workers in the construction, railroad and shipbuilding
industries are at the greatest risk of being exposed to asbestos fibers.
Asbestos is now heavily
regulated by the Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Organization (OSHA) and the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA).
Workers exposed to asbestos are at an increased risk of developing lung cancer and mesothelioma,
a cancer of the thin membrane (mesothelium) that surrounds the lung and other internal organs.
The mesothelium is comprised of two membranes—the parietal and visceral. The visceral membrane surrounds the organ, and the parietal membrane covers it. The fluid in the mesothelium aids in the movement of internal organs. With the lungs, it reduces friction as the lungs expand and contract during breathing.