Asbestos is a mineral fiber found naturally in certain unique rock formations throughout the world. It is strong, flexible and effectively protects or insulates from the damage caused by extremes in temperature, especially from fire or heat.
At the turn of the twentieth century, researchers began to notice a large number of deaths and lung problems in asbestos mining towns. The first diagnosis of asbestosis was made in England in 1924. In 1931, laws were passed in England to increase ventilation and to make asbestosis a compensable work-related disease. The United States followed about ten years later.