How serious do you think the problem is with lead and asbestos today?
There is probably less of a problem today with the usage of lead and asbestos in the industrial setting. Asbestos was used extensively in the 19th century for its heat absorption qualities. It was soon discovered to be a known carcinogen, resulting in lung cancer for those unfortunate workers who inhaled the asbestos fibers. There was a massive asbestos removal effort in the '80s and '90s designed to remove asbestos-based insulation and exterior building products from older buildings that used asbestos as a building material. Lead was likewise once extensively used as a paint substance, to give paint longevity and avoid multiple applications of paint. Lead from paint chips, where the aging paint contracted and fell away from the wood or metal it was adhered to, was a major cause of lead poisoning, which was lethal to many young children who had no such knowledge. Lead has since been discontinued as an ingredient in paint ingredients.