After tracking down that long sought-after 1969 Pontiac Firebird, you prepare to remake it, removing the rusted parts and ripping away the upholstery in a restoration project expected to last several months.
Restoring classic cars is more than hobby from some people. The satisfaction and rewards of doing the work yourself or with friends has a long-lasting effect. However, did you know that many auto parts contain asbestos and could prove a health threat to you, your mechanic partners and your families?
Asbestos found in many auto parts
Thinking through your approach to a classic car restoration is among first steps to do. But you also must think through how to safely do the work, knowing that asbestos – the mineral that causes a number of cancers such as mesothelioma – is present.
Classic cars often contain an abundance of asbestos, used in a number of auto parts such as brake pads, clutch linings, hood liners, gaskets, heat shields and cabin insulation. Many cars built through the 1990s contain asbestos.
Inhaling the microscopic fibers and dust from asbestos leads to accumulation in the lungs. Ingesting the fibers lead to asbestos collecting in your stomach and digestive system. Mesothelioma may surface 20 to 40 years after an initial exposure to asbestos.
Your family may be at risk, too, from secondary exposure when you enter the house, bringing inside asbestos fibers that collected on your hair and clothing.
Wear protective clothing
When you work on your classic car, make sure to be proactive and take protective measures that would include:
- Working in a properly ventilated area
- Wearing protective clothing that includes a hazmat suit, head covering, face mask, gloves and goggles
- Contacting a professional mechanic when you need one
Careful planning is needed when doing this type of work.
Take precautions with this work
Understand that that many old cars contain asbestos, a mineral that can shorten your life. In the meant time, please enjoy your restoration hobby but take the necessary safety precautions. Doing so just may save your life.