Asbestosis is a chronic lung disease caused by inhaling fibers of asbestos. Asbestos is the name of a group of minerals with long, thin fibers that were once used widely as insulation. The airborne fibers become lodged within your lungs, where they irritate and scar lung tissue. Symptoms range from mild to severe, and usually don’t appear until 10-40 years after continued exposure. They include shortness of breath, a persistent dry cough, loss of appetite with weight loss, fingertips and toes that appear wider and rounder than normal, and chest tightness or pain. People who worked with asbestos before the government began regulating its use in the 1970s are more likely to suffer from asbestosis.