Asbestos in Automotive Parts

Since the early 1900s, asbestos has been used for friction products in automobiles because it’s heatproof and durable. People often don’t develop mesothelioma until decades after they were exposed to asbestos. Automotive workers recently diagnosed with mesothelioma may have been exposed many years ago.

Now, less parts are being made with asbestos each year. Older cars and parts still have asbestos in them though. Any mechanic, professional or not, could still be at risk of exposure when working on older vehicles.

Some Automotive Asbestos Parts:

  • Brakes
  • Clutches
  • Transmission parts

Brakes are the highest concern for automotive workers. By some reports, asbestos linings were still being used on the Ford Crown Victoria as recently as 1993.

Brake services such as blow-out, grinding, and beveling cause asbestos to be released into the air as mechanics work. Grinding causes the most fibers to be released. The most dangerous tasks are those that cause asbestos to become airborne. Removing and installing brakes or manipulating the brakes in other ways, such as compressed air blow-out or wire brushing, can all cause airborne asbestos.

A very small amount of asbestos can be released into the air when a vehicle with asbestos brakes slows down or stops. Even though this amount is miniscule, it can add up for people who are regularly near braking cars.

Automotive Workers Exposed to Asbestos

  • Auto Mechanics

    Automobile parts that contain asbestos can release fibers into the air as mechanics are working on them.

  • Automotive Factory Workers

    Anyone working with asbestos containing parts can be at risk of developing mesothelioma or other asbestos related diseases, including manufacturing workers.

  • Toll Booth Operators and Others

    Small amounts of asbestos are released as automobiles with asbestos brakes slow down. Toll booth operators could come in contact with hundreds or thousands of braking vehicles per day. Anyone who works or lives near a high-traffic area could also come into contact with asbestos.