For decades, asbestos was the primary insulation material used in many automotive replacement parts. Millions of car parts still in use today contain dangerous levels of asbestos. Because of this, today’s mechanic runs the risk of being exposed on a regular basis.
Automobile Parts Containing Asbestos
Several different types of car parts often contain asbestos. Brake pads are the most common; however, there are a few other kinds of parts that contain the carcinogenic material:
- Clutch facings
- Transmission parts
Several major, brand-name companies have produced asbestos-containing car parts:
- General Motors
- Owens Corning
- Dana Corp.
- Cooper Industries
- RPM Int’l
Professional Mechanics and Asbestos
Mechanics must frequently work with car parts that contain asbestos; brake linings and pads and clutch parts need to be replaced on a very regular basis. The process of replacing these parts often calls for them to be ground down. Since the act of grinding down the parts can release the microscopic fibers of asbestos, brake pads, clutch facings, and other parts can endanger a mechanic as they breathe the fibers in. Asbestos fibers also have a tendency to collect in the brake drum over time, creating yet another means for a mechanic performing brake maintenance to inhale the harmful asbestos fibers.
People are at risk for many types of diseases when they inhale excessive amounts of asbestos, including the following:
Hobbyist Mechanics and Asbestos
It’s only when a mechanic inhales fibers that they are actually endangered by asbestos. Brakes and other parts release those fibers when they are ground down for maintenance. Most people have inhaled small amounts of asbestos; brakes won’t necessarily endanger everyone. But for mechanics who are working around and breathing in small amounts of the fibers every day, the risks increase significantly.
That being said, you don’t necessarily have to be a professional mechanic who spends every work day in an auto garage to run the risk of exposure to asbestos. Brake linings can endanger non-professional mechanics working on cars in their home garage as well. Unfortunately, home mechanics have a tendency to overlook appropriate safety precautions that guard against asbestos exposure. When exposure does occur, they are also more likely to carry the asbestos covering their clothes and hair into their homes, becoming a walking health hazard to their loved ones.
If you are a hobbyist or professional mechanic who has gotten ill from asbestos exposure, it may be time to contact a lawyer to discuss your treatment and legal options. To talk with an attorney, contact us today.