Asbestos are fibers found in serpentine rocks. The individual fibers have hooks on the end. It’s the hooks on the fibers that get stuck in lungs when asbestos is in the air.
Asbestos was used in the brake pads and various building materials until 1970 when the Clear Air Act was passed. But the use of asbestos didn’t stop. The US can still legally import and use in manufacturing, raw asbestos. California banned thermal system insulation (that yellow stuff around heating registers in older homes and office buildings) in 1975. However, Congress had to debate asbestos exposure until 2016 when President Obama signed the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act. And now President Trump wants to introduce new uses of asbestos. The new EPA Rule on asbestos will allow raw bulk asbestos to be used in manufactures gaskets and other like products; sheet gaskets for use in titanium dioxide chemical production and brake blocks in oil drilling. Of the most concern to most of us is aftermarket automotive brake linings and other vehicle friction products.
The major manufacturer that used asbestos in the US was Johns-Manville. They declared bankruptcy in 1984, trying to avoid litigation that would fully pay victims of cancers caused by asbestos. If you were exposed to asbestos, have an MD that puts that in writing, then you should speak with an attorney that specializes in asbestos litigation.
Amazingly, asbestos is not part of the standard ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials).
The building maintenance workers and construction crews are the most at risk from asbestos in building materials.