Risk of Asbestos Exposure When Repairing Cars

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Risk of Asbestos Exposure When Repairing Cars

Asbestos has been used in the manufacturing of brake pads and linings, clutch facings, and gaskets for decades. Many people assume that asbestos has been completely banned from use, but many of these products are still used on vehicles today.

Because of this, auto mechanics (not to mention enthusiasts that work on their own cars) are at serious risk as the breathing in of asbestos dust can lead to potentially fatal diseases like asbestosis and lung cancer. Asbestos is also the only known cause of an extremely aggressive type of lung cancer known as mesothelioma.

Asbestos-containing materials are most dangerous when they are disturbed or damaged. The dust released into the air when this happens contains microscopic asbestos fibers. Because brake pads and clutches are subject to continual abrasion, a large amount of the toxic material is usually trapped inside the brake housing or clutch space. The dust is then released when auto repair work is done. 

Symptoms of mesothelioma do not show up until 15 to 25 years after exposure and the cancer is usually not diagnosed until it is in its advanced stages. By the time a patient is referred to a mesothelioma doctor for treatment, it is usually too late for cancer to be treated effectively. Occupational asbestos exposure has led to many auto mechanics and other workers filing lawsuits for mesothelioma compensation.

It is estimated that since 1940 more than six million mechanics have been exposed to asbestos in brakes. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a detailed brochure that offers information regarding OSHA's regulations for commercial automotive shops concerning asbestos.

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