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Imagine a rock that catches fire yet does not burn, strengthens construction materials, insulates materials perfectly, dampens noise, and possesses long, silky threads that can be woven into fireproof cloth. Sound impossible? This "wonder material" is asbestos.

However, If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.Once disturbed, broken, or crushed, microscopic fibers of asbestos become airborne, and when inhaled these fibers embed themselves in the lung tissue, slowly festering and causing cancer and other fatal diseases in its victims years later.

If asbestos is so harmful, why was it ever used, and what dangers does it present the public today? The answers to these questions are as complex and troubling as the mineral itself.

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