Brakes and Clutches May Contain Asbestos, EPA Pamphlet Warns
WASHINGTON, DC -- May 11, 2007 -- Brakes and clutches may contain asbestos, the Environmental Protection Agency warns in a pamphlet prepared for auto mechanics and auto repair shops. Most often, the asbestos is found in older cars, but newer models may also have asbestos in replacement brakes. Many auto mechanics are not aware of this problem, and wrongly believe that asbestos has been banned.
A mere visual inspection will not reveal whether brakes or clutches contain asbestos. Therefore, auto mechanics should assume that all brakes and clutches contain asbestos and always proceed cautiously. Removing a clutch cover, brake drum or disc may release asbestos fibers. Once inhaled, the asbestos becomes trapped in the lungs. Decades later, the inhaled asbestos can cause asbestosis, lung cancer or an aggressive cancer, mesothelioma.
Government regulations detail procedures that must be used during clutch and repair work. One approved method to minimize asbestos exposure is to use a HEPA vacuum system and a transparent box that fits around the brake or clutch assembly. HEPA vacuums use special filters that remove more particles than regular vacuums. Another approved method uses low-pressure spray equipment to wet down the brake assembly, catching any runoff in a basin.
Home auto mechanics who replace their own brakes and clutches may also be at risk for asbestos exposure. The EPA pamphlet advises them to use pre-ground parts whenever possible and machinery equipped with HEPA filtration. If these home mechanics do not have access to the type of equipment found in commercial shops, the EPA recommends that they use the "wet wipe method" for handling brakes and clutches. This method involves a spray bottle that delivers a low pressure mist to wet brake and clutch parts.
Your Asbestos Case
If you have worked on brakes or clutches and developed an asbestos-related disease such as asbestosis or mesothelioma, please feel free to contact us at Brayton Purcell. We have been successfully defending the rights of asbestos victims for over 24 years, and our initial consultations are free of charge.