It is a known fact that exposure to asbestos increases the odds of getting lung cancer during ones life time.
Cure rates for lung cancer are not high, not exposing oneself to asbestos, radon, cigarette smoke and other known causes of cancer can help reduce but not eliminate the chances of getting cancer.
While incidental exposure to asbestos on pipes may or may not be harmful, remediation of asbestos, if it is found during your home inspection, highly recommended. No one wants to be the parent who has a child with lung cancer that the parent could have prevented nor the spouse who did not act on a problem that causes a spouse to get lung cancer.
Even if you, your children and your spouse do not get lung cancer odds are when you go to sell your home the next home buyer will be concerned enough about the asbestos to have you pay for asbestos remediation. Therefore there is simply no reason to live with a hazard you are likely to pay to cure on your way out of the home anyway.
Asbestos is a great product as far as insulation value goes, however the risk of lung cancer makes its use too hazardous, that is why it is no longer used and usually removed where it does exist.
Insulation containing asbestos that is never disturbed may be little hazard to home occupants however it is simply not possible for me or anyone to guarantee the insulation will remain in place forever and not be disturbed. Pipe leaks and other problems occur without warning that can allow fibers to escape into the air as well as mechanical damage from objects hitting the insulation intentionally or by accident.