Asbestos is a mineral that has been used in construction as far back as the Roman period. However, it wasn't until the Industrial Revolution that it became significantly more popular due to its fire resistant properties. Constructors took advantage of its strength and durability and the majority of new or refurbished properties in the 20th century have asbestos in the fabric of the building.
We now know the potentially carcinogenic effect of breathing in asbestos fibres. If you have any suspicions that asbestos has been used in a property that you are working in or on, it needs to be dealt with professionally by highly trained experts to ensure the safety of everyone.