The Salt Lake City/County Health Department has issued a warning to all cocaine abusers: you may be inhaling a substance with altogether different effects than you intended.

A large plastic bag of loose, white, powdery substance, scheduled for health department asbestos analysis, was stolen from the car of an insurance adjuster who was transporting a damaged ceiling sample.Dr. Harry Gibbons, department executive director, said asbestos is a mineral fiber that has been used for many years in construction materials where its fire resistant properties were valued. When asbestos-containing materials are disturbed, the very small fibers are released into the air.

Once inhaled, asbestos fibers become lodged in the lungs where they remain for many years. Mesothelioma, a form of cancer, may develop many years after a single exposure to asbestos fibers.

For more information, call Gibbons at 534-4599.