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Asbestos Exposure in Auto Repair Shops

Key Takeaways

  • Auto shop workers are at a higher risk of asbestos-related issues
  • Although asbestos is not as commonly used in auto parts as it used to be, workers are still exposed to it when working on older models
  • The Environmental Protection Agency outlines current best practices on their site for handling auto parts at home
  • Exposure to asbestos can lead to many respiratory issues, like mesothelioma

Asbestos is known to be used in auto parts due to its durable and heat resistant properties. When a material made with asbestos is damaged, disturbed, or otherwise handled, fibers are released into the air to be inhaled. For this reason, many of those who work professions surrounding auto repair shops are at great risk for asbestos-related health issues. Although those who work on auto vehicles by trade may be aware of the risks associated with handling materials made with asbestos, individuals who work on cars as a hobby might not be. It is important to be educated on proper handling of auto parts to limit the risks of exposure to asbestos.

Risks

Exposure to asbestos can cause serious health problems. Workers can lessen the dangers of their job by taking proper safety precautions and by being OSHA compliant.  Apart from physical hazards such as falls, auto shop workers are also exposed to a variety of other chemicals. Paints, polishes, and primers can severely injure the eyes or skin upon contact. There is also a large amount of dust and other particles that can become a health hazard—especially when frequently exposed. As mentioned before, exposure to asbestos can lead to many respiratory issues including mesothelioma. When asbestos fibers are released in the air, an auto repair shop worker can inhale it. Over time, these fibers begin to accumulate and can affect organ lining in the lungs, abdomen, heart, and testes. Eventually, tumors can form, causing mesothelioma.

Why Is Asbestos Used in Auto Parts?

As briefly mentioned, asbestos has heat-resistant and durable properties that make it useful for building auto parts. The mineral is also relatively cheap, as it is abundant and naturally occurring. Though it is rarely used in auto parts today, workers are still at risk of exposure. Workers who deal with older cars and auto parts are at risk of asbestos inhalation.

Home Mechanics Best Practices

The Environmental Protection Agency offers guidelines for those who are working on vehicles at home. Best practices recommended by the EPA include avoiding compressed air to clean, only using a wet/dry vac with a HEPA filter, and limiting yourself to no more than five brake or clutch jobs per week. Since you can’t tell if a part contains asbestos from just looking at it, you should consult the packaging information on the products you are using. The EPA essentially recommends that to avoid the risks of asbestos exposure, you should get your vehicle serviced at an OSHA-compliant auto repair shop.

 

If you or a lived one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, The Halpern Law Firm can help navigate the legal processes of filing a claim and being compensated. The dedicated team here will ensure that your case is handled quickly. We serve mesothelioma victims in PA. Call 1-800-505-6000 to speak with an experienced lawyer.

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