Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that is often described in terms of colour - white, blue and brown.
Asbestos fibres are strong and resistant to heat and chemicals. They do not evaporate into the air or dissolve in water. This means that asbestos was ideal to use in things such as insulation material, fire prevention boards and asbestos cement roofing.
This all means that asbestos is found everywhere in our environment and there is evidence to suggest that we are all exposed to it and inhale a small number of asbestos fibres every day.
Importation, supply and use of asbestos has been banned in the UK since 1999 because of the possible harms. However, people may still be exposed to existing asbestos-containing materials due to its widespread use in the past.
Merton Council accepts liability for death of teacher who was exposed to asbestos
National Conference Asbestos in Schools: revealing the hidden killer
Revealed: The hundreds of North Wales schools which contain potentially deadly asbestos
Seen but not heard