It's safer to leave asbestos where it is. However, if the homeowner or businessowner is determined to renovate an area that they suspect has asbestos, they'll need to call in professionals to evaluate the area and then professionals to remove the asbestos.
Asbestos is a common name for a variety of minerals that used to be used in everything from roofing shingles to insulation to paint to floor tiles. It's harmless until it's disturbed. When disturbed it sends tiny filaments of silicate minerals into the air. If they're breathed in, these substances can lead to a rare cancer called mesothelioma. It can take decades for this cancer to become symptomatic.