There has been a wide array of products manufactured over the years that contained asbestos. What’s frightening is that, even with the known health risks, many manufacturers still choose to use the toxic fiber. We wrote recently about construction materials manufacturers that are still using asbestos in pipes and other products but it’s not just building materials that still contain asbestos. Brake linings with asbestos have long been in use and this practice perpetuates today.
Despite health concerns conveyed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the US, Canada and other nations continue to allow asbestos-containing products to be manufactured and sold. However, there is a promising piece of legislation – part of an appropriations bill that orders the Commerce Department to investigate brake products being imported that contain asbestos. That’s not as good as a ban, but it’s a starting point.
Why Asbestos in Brakes?
Asbestos has been used in brakes for decades because of its heat-resistant properties and strength. Because it was so widely used, nearly a million auto mechanics were exposed to asbestos during brake installation, maintenance and repair work. Workers in brake manufacturing facilities were also exposed. In recent years, use of these products declined to some extent, but never completely stopped. In the US, manufacture of asbestos-containing brakes was banned a decade ago but this did not impact imports. A report is due within 120 days of the bill being enacted.
According to Asbestos.com, Crown Victoria models through 1993 still used them and even through today Land Rovers use them. Most importantly, if you buy after market replacement brakes from auto shops you may be getting an asbestos-containing product. If you’re a DIY person and like to do oil changes and brake jobs at home, you may be exposing yourself to asbestos based on the brake products you choose. Asbestos contained is not a danger, but when it is disturbed, the fibers are released which are invisible to the naked eye and can be inhaled.
How Do Brakes Leach Asbestos?
When brakes are used, there is friction that can release asbestos-laden dust. This dust may be trapped in the brake housing area, but then can be released when the housing is removed to make repairs or replace brake pads and other components. The EPA has prepared some recommendations for those that work in brake shops or do shade-tree brake work for themselves at home.
First, you should be aware that you can’t tell if a brake or clutch component has asbestos on it by looking and it’s likely the packaging won’t tell you either so you should assume asbestos may be present. Safety measures you can read about in the EPA brochure include using a HEPA vacuum and enclosure system to trap dust, wet cleaning methods, wet wipe methods and not bringing work clothes home.
Have You Been Diagnosed with Mesothelioma?
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, odds are it was caused by asbestos exposure. Many hard working mechanics and manufacturing workers have been stricken with this rare cancer because of asbestos exposure in brake parts, clutch components and other asbestos-laden products. If this has happened to you, the asbestos experts at Bergman Draper Ladenberg are ready to help you.
We work solely with mesothelioma victims and fight to protect their rights. Over the past 15 years, we’ve won more than $500 million in settlements for those who have been made ill through asbestos exposure. Our firm has been recognized nationally as “Super Lawyers” for mesothelioma claims so, no matter where you live, we can assist you.
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