There is hardly any health risk in the case of a one-time exposure to asbestos. Lengthy exposure to asbestos is dangerous, however, regardless of the type of asbestos involved. Therefore, people who have to deal with asbestos on a regular basis by virtue of their profession, such as certified asbestos inspectors or abatement contractors, always wear protective clothing, the so-called "moonsuits".
If you come across firmly-bound asbestos material in or around your home and it doesn't show any signs of wear or damage, it is best to leave it alone. That's the safest option, provided that you don't sand, cut or ground it, or disturb it in some other way. If you wish to remove asbestos, you should always contact your local council. In some professions, incidental exposure to asbestos is possible. In that case, great prudence is called for. It is again important that the asbestos doesn't get damaged. You are seldom allowed to remove asbestos yourself.
In the past, asbestos was not always dealt with cautiously. Recent research shows that between now and 2028 some 13,000 people will get deathly asbestos-related cancer. The peak is expected in 2017, with approximately 500 deaths per year.
Repeated inhalation of airborne asbestos fibres can cause a variety of diseases, which sometimes do not appear until a few decades after exposure. These diseases are therefore most common in people who are exposed to asbestos by virtue of their profession.
In some country's, victims of asbestos-related diseases can appeal to the state for an advance on a potential compensation.