At Risk Professions

Mechanics and Asbestos Exposure

The use of asbestos in a variety of car parts has put mechanics at particular risk of mesothelioma and other asbestos related conditions. Although they have been phased at to some extent, asbestos containing brakes are still a problem. Because of its durability asbestos was used frequently on brake pads and clutch components, and servicing these parts can prove hazardous to mechanics health. The EPA and OSHA have both created regulations and best practices for maintaining a safe working environment. Unfortunately, these have not been in place long enough to prevent mechanics from damaging exposure to asbestos. Furthermore, many auto-shops do not follow these regulations as they should. An article in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer highlights this failure to comply with regulations, finding numerous instances of unsafe asbestos levels. Furthering the problem is the continued use of asbestos containing brakes on import and high-performance vehicles. Below are several links to OSHA and EPA websites that contain important information for mechanics.

EPA auto-workers best practices http://www.epa.gov/asbestos/pubs/brakesbrochure.html

OSHA practices and regulations http://www.osha.gov/dts/shib/shib072606.html

Chrysler and bankruptcy

Although many companies with asbestos claims against them have gone bankrupt, few as large as Chrysler have faced this process. According to the current bankruptcy plan, Chrysler's good assets will be sold to Fiat SpA, an Italian company. The remaining assets will be divided between various creditors and claimants. Hopefully all of Chrysler's asbestos victims will receive fair compensation under this new plan, but that remains to be seen.

This instance highlights the widespread use of asbestos in the auto-industry. Besides Chrysler many other prominent companies have used asbestos in their products including: Ford, General Motors, AutoZone, Advanced Auto Parts, and Pep Boys. Some of the auto parts in which asbestos can be found are:

  • Disc brake pads
  • Brake shoes
  • Clutch components
  • Drum brake linings
  • Brake blocks
  • Transmission components
  • Gaskets

Site (http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601015&sid=aJa0P8qxSNgo)