Autoworkers Remain at Risk for Asbestos Exposure
Auto show season is in full swing and the nation’s automakers are busily showcasing their hottest, most coveted cars to get consumers revved and ready to step into the showroom.
But did you know that cars and trucks are a potential source of asbestos exposure?
The dangers of asbestos – a human carcinogen – are well known. Asbestos exposure causes mesothelioma, a deadly cancer that kills more than 3,000 people every year. The federal government’s failure to ban asbestos means this silent killer is still found in thousands of asbestos-containing products manufactured and used every day in this country. A number of asbestos products – such as brake linings and clutch facings – may be found in older cars and even in some newer ones.
People who have worked in the automotive industries, as well as those who have tinkered on their own vehicles, are at an increased risk of asbestos exposure and developing diseases such as mesothelioma, as compared to the general population.
The auto industry is a hazardous working environment due to the high volume of confirmed workplace exposures to carcinogens such as asbestos. More than 6 million mechanics have been exposed to asbestos from brake dust since 1940, according to one estimate. Research indicates that these exposures contribute to almost 600 asbestos-related deaths each year.
“The on-site mechanics are not the only people at risk,” explains Ricky LeBlanc, Managing Asbestos Attorney at Sokolove Law. “A tragic consequence of occupational asbestos exposure is that families and loved ones are also at risk of secondhand exposure when asbestos fibers travel home with a worker. Asbestos poses a very real danger and there is a pressing need for more public education and legislative action to keep people safe from this deadly material.”
Asbestos was widely used in automotive manufacturing due to its ability to resist damage from heat, friction, and chemicals, as well as its flexibility and tensile strength. Brakes and clutches pose the biggest exposure threats since these parts wear down during normal use and release asbestos dust, which gets trapped in the brake housing or clutch compartment. When these components are serviced, the dust is released and creates a potential risk of disease.
Other automotive parts that may contain asbestos include hood liners, gaskets, heat-seal material, valve rings, and packing. While guidelines limit the amounts of asbestos present in newer auto parts, millions of cars still contain asbestos.
Older automotive workers are most at risk, especially those who worked on vehicles manufactured in the 1970s or before. People who for many years worked with or around vehicles are urged to get a full physical evaluation by a doctor. Your physician may be able to screen you for early signs of mesothelioma. At-risk workers should also be alert for any mesothelioma symptoms, which may include chest pain, coughing, shortness of breath, and unusual weight loss.
For more information on mesothelioma, visit www.mesotheliomahelpnow.com. This site is constantly updated to provide relevant information to those currently living with or caring for a victim of mesothelioma.
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Sokolove Law, LLC provides quality legal services that help people obtain access to the civil justice system. With over 30 years of service, Sokolove Law has helped thousands of injured parties obtain the compensation they deserved from their legal claims. The cases include birth injury, mesothelioma, cerebral palsy, nursing home abuse, dangerous drugs, disability insurance denial, and medical malpractice. Sokolove Law is nationwide, with local offices in 47 states.