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Asbestos is the name given to a group of six different fibrous minerals (amosite, chrysotile, crocidolite, and the fibrous varieties of tremolite, actinolite, and anthophyllite) that occur naturally in the environment. Asbestos minerals have separable long fibers that are strong and flexible enough to be spun and woven and are heat resistant. Because of these characteristics, asbestos has been used for a wide range of manufactured goods, mostly in building materials (roofing shingles, ceiling and floor tiles, paper products, and asbestos cement products), friction products (automobile clutch, brake, and transmission parts), heat-resistant fabrics, packaging, gaskets, and coatings. Some vermiculite or talc products may contain asbestos. The best way to reduce your risk of mesothelioma is to limit your exposure to asbestos in homes, in public buildings, and at work.

If you live in an older home, there may be insulation with asbestos or other materials. An expert should check your home to find out if there is any asbestos, whether it poses any risk to you, and if so, the best way to take care of it. If there is a chance you might be exposed to asbestos at work, then you should use all protective equipment and follow safety procedures for working around asbestos.

For more information, please visit The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

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