Asbestos in Automobiles

Asbestos products have been used by automotive manufacturers for many years to produce brake pads, clutch facings and gaskets. Millions of these parts are still used to operate a wide variety of vehicles today. As a result, thousands of current and former auto mechanics across the country have been exposed to asbestos particles that could cause serious health problems.

Asbestos-Related Health Problems

Breathing in asbestos particles can lead to serious respiratory problems. For example, breathing in asbestos dust particles can often lead to asbestosis. This disorder causes chest pain, a chronic cough, tightness in the chest and other breathing problems. Moreover, breathing in asbestos fibers can lead to several types of lung cancer. For example, many people develop a debilitating form of cancer around the pleural lining of the lungs. This type of cancer is called mesothelioma. Most people who develop this cancer tend to have a poor long-term prognosis.

Mechanic Asbestos Exposure

Auto mechanics can be exposed to asbestos in a variety of ways. Mainly, a great deal of their exposure comes while trying to dislodge brakes, brake pads or clutch parts that were produced with asbestos products. Much of this dust contains microscopic asbestos fibers that can enter a mechanic's lungs and lodge in there and over time create serious health problems. Auto mechanics can also be exposed to asbestos when they use vacuums to clean around work areas. This is the case because vacuums use changes in air pressure to remove dust and debris. These changes in air pressure can send asbestos fibers to spread as far as 75 feet from the work area. This problem can also potentially expose other mechanics and even customers who enter an auto garage. Finally, auto mechanics may not realize they have health problems related to asbestos exposure until it is too late. This is the case for many reasons. For example, most auto mechanics do not develop health problems related to asbestos exposure for many years. In fact, some auto mechanics can develop health problems 20 to 50 years after their initial exposure to asbestos. Moreover, some mechanics mistakenly believe that asbestos is no longer used in automobile parts. As a result, mechanics may not realize the severity of their health risks and until it is too late. Reference: