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Asbestos was widely used as an insulator, and was often added to things like cloth, paper, cement and plastic to make them stronger.
But if the chemical is inhaled, it becomes permanently trapped in the body. Over decades, this causes inflammation, scarring and DNA damage.
McQueen believed it was the asbestos in the insulation used on the stages of movie sets, as well as in the protective suits worn by racing car drivers, that was responsible for his condition.
The actor was a stunt driver in many films such as Le Mans, and off-stage was a race-car enthusiast.
Source: Daily Express