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Mechanics and Mesothelioma

Asbestos was commonly used in the automotive industry for products such as brake pads, clutch facings and gaskets.  Bonding materials also contained asbestos.  In fact, millions of these items remain in vehicles on the road today. Plus, some brakes and clutches that are now in production still contain asbestos. Therefore, most current and former mechanics have been exposed to asbestos, putting them at higher risk for mesothelioma and lung cancer.

How Mechanics Were Exposed to Asbestos

Whenever materials that contain asbestos are disturbed or moved in any way, a dust is released and microscopic asbestos fibers then float into the air. A large amount of toxic material is often generated when the brakes, gaskets, and clutch facing are sanded, grinded, or trimmed before being used on a car.

In addition, by using vacuums and air hoses before and after these jobs to clean up the work area, asbestos fibers are spread further in the surrounding air. This poisonous dust has a tendency to linger long after a job is completed and has the potential to spread far from the work area.  Airborne asbestos fibers can be inhaled and even swallowed quite easily, if this dust is in the air or gets on hands and clothes.

Are Mechanics Still At Risk of Exposure to Asbestos?

Due to the fact that asbestos is still used in many car parts, mechanics remain in danger of being exposed to this cancerous material.  Mechanics should use ventilation, respiratory protection and dust control methods like wetting to protect themselves. Mechanics that use a vacuum cleaner, air hoses, or just wipe dust away with a dry rag increase their chances of exposure. Even wiping with a rag or brush can cause the fibers to be disturbed.

Why Are Mechanics Still At Risk of Mesothelioma?

Approximately 6 million mechanics have come in contact with asbestos in brakes and other automotive products since 1940. In turn, those exposures now cause an estimated 580 asbestos-related cancer deaths each year. Since it can take a long time for symptoms of mesothelioma to appear, many car mechanics aren’t aware that they are in danger until between 15 and 60 years after the initial exposure.