Asbestos use by man can be dated back to the Egyptians. Mined from rock, asbestos was broken down into fiber like strands and was used as a binder for almost any substance. Asbestos was weaved into textiles, including mummy wrappings, and used in brick making as well as many others things.
During the Industrial Revolution asbestos was popularized in America as an insulator for foundry work and as a general binder. It was then used inn homes to bind together horse hair and/or straw to make plaster that we see in older homes. The use of asbestos was then used in pipe lagging, boiler insulation, in window caulk, roofing materials, flooring products, wiring insulations, as well as textures on walls and ceilings. It is still used in mastics ands some roofing products today.
Even though the health risks about asbestos were noticed by slave holders, it was so hard to pinpoint causes of illness and early death that it wasn’t until recently we have discovered the harm in exposure to disturbed asbestos fibers.