There is no known safe level of exposure to asbestos fibres.
Presently there are no known cures for asbestos related illness.
Inhalation of asbestos fibres may lead to scarring of the lung tissue, a condition known as asbestosis; in severe form it causes shortness of breath and pleural plaques, malignancy of the lung, or bronchial cancer. Mesothelioma is a rare related disease which was exclusively identified with asbestos exposure, but is also known to have other origins.
The period from exposure to asbestos to the onset of the disease varies between 20 to 50 years. While cases contracted before the ban on asbestos was introduced may still be diagnosed into the next century. Current Australian Safety & Compensation Council regulations will reduce the risk of exposure to asbestos fibres. Scientists believe that asbestos related disease will disappear altogether as a result of the safety measures being taken at present.