A survey carried out in the UK suggests that almost two-thirds of people would not be confident of identifying asbestos in their home.
The British Lung Foundation (BLF) surveyed 2,000 homeowners and found that 45% did not realise that asbestos had been used as a building material.
The ultra-resistant substance was used extensively in the 20th Century in many aspects of building, and can be found in floor tiles, textured ceiling coatings and in the lining of boiler cupboards.
Those who had been employed in jobs in which they regularly worked with asbestos, such as plumbers or shipyard workers, were most at risk of developing lung problems such as mesothelioma and asbestosis.
However, asbestos is no longer used for these purposes and so the greatest risk lies among those involved in demolition, building repair and maintenance. If asbestos is disturbed, it releases dangerous fibres into the air, which are harmful to the lungs.
If you find asbestos in your home, you should seek advice from your local authority before removing and disposing of the material.