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Car Products That Contained Asbestos

Posted on by Asbestos Waste Solutions Limited

Even decades after being banned, asbestos can still be found in the strangest of places. When working in older buildings, there are regulations and procedures in place which must be followed to ensure asbestos isn’t present before workers enter the area to protect them from a multitude of health risks. However, it is not as well-known that dangerous asbestos can also be found in vehicles. Asbestos was used a great deal up until the late 1970s, as the material offered superior heat resistance and insulation for the components of the car that were exposed to extremities. However, over the years, all cars face wear and tear which ruptures the asbestos embedded in the vehicle’s parts. 

volkswagen beetle in the forest

Mechanics have been susceptible to asbestos exposure and the health risks that accompany it for decades – even though the use of asbestos in components was prohibited from 1999, with the only exception being cars manufactured before 1973 which could be fitted with asbestos-based brake pads until 2004. This makes it highly possible mechanics come into contact with asbestos components. 

We could list a number of health problems asbestos exposure could cause, but the most likely are asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma. The majority of the symptoms are very similar, but it’s important to know the symptoms as it could take decades after the exposure before you start feeling the effects. Symptoms can include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Chesty cough 
  • Coughing up blood
  • Difficulty breathing and swallowing
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fever and night sweats
  • Fluid build-up 
  • Nail deformities

Being aware of what vehicle parts could contain asbestos is the first step towards avoidance. Although the likelihood of encountering an asbestos-contaminated vehicle component now is very unlikely, it’s best to be extra wary when working with vintage cars. Common vehicle parts that contain asbestos include:

  • Air hoses
  • Body construction
  • Brakes
  • Clutches and clutch facings
  • Engine components
  • Gaskets
  • Heat seals
  • Hood liners
  • Insulation
  • Mufflers
  • Valve rings

Due to the ban of asbestos-contaminated brakes and clutches in cars, it’s this area that poses the most risk to a mechanic. Brake and clutch dust is potentially dangerous, so it’s always best to adhere to the following rules in all mechanical work:

  • Don’t disturb dust with the airflow from air compressor tools
  • Use drum cleaning equipment which prevents dust from escaping
  • Use wet and clean cloths to clean drums

Asbestos Waste Solutions have been helping domestic and commercial customers dispose of asbestos for over 20 years. We offer a comprehensive and competitively priced service for you and your business, and our friendly staff are always on hand to help answer any queries you may have. If you think you’re dealing with an asbestos-contaminated vehicle or for more information on our services, please get in touch with a member of our team today.

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