If you are a homeowner, landlord, contractor, property manager, etc., involved directly or indirectly in altering a structure in any way, regardless of its age, your project is subject to asbestos regulations. The first step is to understand what category your project falls under (demolition or renovation) and then whether it is an owner-occupied, single family residence or not.
When asbestos fibers are inhaled, most fibers are expelled, but some can become lodged in the lungs and remain there throughout life. Fibers can accumulate and cause scarring and inflammation and lead to serious conditions including lung cancer and mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that is occurs in the thin lining of the lung, chest and abdomen. Asbestos exposure can also cause asbestosis, a serious progressive, long-term, non-cancer fibrotic disease of the lungs.
Various factors determine how exposure to asbestos affects an individual's risk of developing an asbestos-related illness or disease, including:
To protect public health from exposure to asbestos, activities such as demolition and renovation of buildings, homes and other structures must be done in accordance with asbestos regulations.
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry has additional health related information about asbestos exposure.
EPA has a comprehensive website on asbestos: asbestos website.