Basically asbestos is a silicate mineral and was made very popular because of it's fire resistant properties and it's strength it was widely used. As a result asbestos found it's way into many home construction products. It also was used for products in other industries, but we are just concentrating on home products. Asbestos can be found in many products in a home starting with shingles, certain protective  paper around wood burning  stoves on walls, siding, Concrete Floor covering, Floor glues, Insulation, Insulation around ducts and pipes, and many more.  

Health hazards from inhalation of asbestos.

Asbestos has been found to increase the risk of lung cancer and mesothelioma by breathing in high levels of Asbestos fibers. Most of these causes where found to be caused from breathing in these high levels of asbestos from there work places such as mining, processing,  factories, and ship building that made or used products with asbestos. In the 1950's Asbestos was a popular building material. At those times there were no regulations set to protect the workers. The point is that asbestos can cause long cancer. This is the reason that asbestos was banned in 1977 for use in building construction products. So if you own or are buying an older home built before 1977 than the home may contain asbestos  building construction products. There is also a chance that some homes built after 1977 can contain Asbestos. Yes it was banned in 1977 , but manufacturers who made home construction products were allowed to sell the remaining inventory. So there are homes through the 1980's that can contain Asbestos.

What to do if your home has asbestos

The key thing if Asbestos is present in the home you own or are buying is not to disturb it. Asbestos is not a hazard unless the particles are air born. If you are remodeling your home and you have an older home you may want to have your home inspected for Asbestos building products. This is when Asbestos becomes dangerous during repairs to the home or upgrading areas. Removing Products such as insulation, old siding, roofing materials, flooring, and other building products can send the Asbestos particles into the air and you could breath these dangerous cancer causing products into your lungs not knowing any damage until years down the road.