Brake mechanics play an important role in maintaining and repairing vehicles, ensuring that they run safely and efficiently. However, their work also exposes them to a hidden danger: asbestos, which puts them at a heightened risk of developing mesothelioma.
Asbestos was once a common component in brake linings and pads due to its heat resistance and durability. When certain brakes undergo servicing or replacement, it releases asbestos particles into the air.
Understanding the link between asbestos and mesothelioma
Exposure to asbestos is the primary cause of mesothelioma, an aggressive cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, abdomen or heart. When brake mechanics inhale or ingest asbestos particles, it can lead to the development of mesothelioma, often many years after exposure.
Reducing the risk of mesothelioma
Asbestos is no longer in use in the production of brakes. However, many older vehicles on the road still have asbestos-containing brake components. Brake mechanics can take several precautions to reduce their risk of mesothelioma. For example, the use of proper personal protective equipment, such as masks, gloves and coveralls, can help minimize exposure to asbestos dust.
Mechanics should try to avoid dry brushing or using compressed air to clean brake parts. Employing dust control measures like local exhaust ventilation and vacuum systems can also help capture and contain asbestos dust, preventing it from becoming airborne.
The American Cancer Society reports that about 3,000 Americans receive mesothelioma diagnoses each year. Understanding the risks and adopting preventive measures helps protect the health of hard-working brake mechanics.