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Auto Mechanics

Asbestos Exposure and Auto Mechanics

Even now, auto mechanics are at a serious risk of exposure to asbestos because of all of the automotive parts that contain asbestos.  Using asbestos in auto friction products has been reduced significantly, but there may still be asbestos in brake linings and clutch assemblies.  If an auto mechanic breaths in air that has any asbestos dust or fibers, they are at risk for developing mesothelioma.  Mesothelioma has symptoms that take many years to develop, so many people do not understand the severity of their exposure until it is too late.

It is not always known that new cars or trucks may have asbestos-containing parts, in addition to older vehicles.  There are some manufacturers who are still using asbestos in the brake drum linings, truck clutch facings or on the disk pads.  If there is asbestos in the clutch lining, and that lining needs to be cut or drilled, it releases millions of particles into the air.  That dust can get breathed in or attach itself to clothing.

What Can You Do to Reduce Exposure to Asbestos?

It is not always easy to tell which auto brakes or clutches contain asbestos, so auto mechanics should always assume that they are dealing with asbestos and take proper dust control procedures to reduce their exposure.  OSHA recommends controlling asbestos dust in auto repair shops with a negative pressure high efficiency vacuum system or if the shop does less than 5 clutch or brake jobs a week, they suggest using a low pressure/wet cleaning dust control system.  Also, the grease on auto mechanics’ hands can attract asbestos fibers, so it is very important to wash your hands thoroughly.

Mesothelioma in Auto Mechanics and Their Families

Since asbestos can attach itself to clothing, auto mechanics should not take their work clothes into their homes.  They should also take the precaution of showering and putting on clean clothing before they leave work so they do not take asbestos dust home on their skin or clothing.  This helps to reduce asbestos exposure to their family members.  Second-hand exposure to asbestos can cause mesothelioma in addition to first-hand exposure.