Asbestos was used extensively as a building material in the UK from the 1950s through to the mid 1980s when it was banned.
Blue and brown asbestos are the most dangerous kinds and although both can still be found in some old buildings they are rarer than white asbestos – the most common type.
White asbestos was not considered to be as dangerous until recently.
Breathing in asbestos fibres is the main cause of mesothelioma.
Around eight out of 10 people with mesothelioma have been exposed to asbestos at some point in their lives.
Asbestos was used widely in the building industry for lagging pipes and insulating properties as well as the ship-building industry and in the manufacture of household appliances.
It is effective insulating material and is resistant to melting or burning.
It is estimated asbestos is still present in more than half a million non-domestic buildings in the UK.
“Bristol Evening Post”: 30.1.04