Certain illnesses like mesothelioma and asbestosis that are caused by asbestos exposure. Those most at risk for exposure to asbestos have jobs where they work directly with the hazardous mineral. While construction workers, shipyard workers, and boiler workers are among the most common types of jobs where exposure is a danger, automotive workers and mechanics are also at risk. As an efficient, cheap, and easy to obtain insulating material, asbestos was used for decades in clutch linings because of its ability to reduce the heat that friction causes.
Automobile mechanics and those who work on automotive clutches are always at risk for asbestos exposure. While there were restrictions placed on the manufacture of asbestos-containing products in the 1970s, only five particular products and new uses of asbestos were actually banned. Some products, such as clutch linings and parts, are still made today using asbestos.
Auto repair workers may be exposed to asbestos dust when they work on clutches. As a clutch wears, the asbestos wears down as well and builds up in the clutch and brake compartments. Removing parts such as the clutch cover, brake disk, drum, or wheel can release the dangerous dust into the air where auto repair workers can ingest it or inhale it.