Pennsylvania residents may have heard about the dangers of asbestos. This mineral was once widely used for its durability and resistance to heat, but in the 1960s, it became linked to deadly conditions like mesothelioma. In 1989, the U.S. banned any new use of asbestos, but it can still be found here and there, first of all in old homes.

Asbestos may be contained, for instance, in roofing shingles, siding, the coating around water pipes, tiles and vinyl flooring. It will also be in textured ceiling paint produced before 1977, the year that the EPA banned the mineral from these products. Homes built between the 1930s and 1950s may carry insulation with asbestos.

These materials only harm one’s health if they are disturbed and let asbestos fibers into the air. It’s in the workplace that the disturbing and inhalation of asbestos poses a greater threat. For example, it can be found in the insulation around a boiler, caulking materials, soundproofing materials, packing products and heat-resistant gloves.

Asbestos was used in the production of various household items, too, especially appliances like toasters and coffee makers. Hairdryers, clothing irons, chalkboards and some children’s toys may contain it. Every now and then, consumer products from overseas may have traces of the mineral.

As for the effects of asbestos exposure, they may take years or even decades to show themselves. Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer with patients unlikely to live even a few years after diagnosis. Victims who believe they were exposed to the mineral through the negligence of another, be it an employer or the maker of an asbestos-laced product, may be able to seek compensation. Families may do so, too, on behalf of those fatally injured. Having a lawyer could make the claims process go more smoothly.