Asbestos pads were multi-functional and provided excellent heat resistance in each of its applications. Several years ago, you could find asbestos pads in the home as ironing board covers or pads for the stove top. However, the most common application of asbestos pads has been on cars. These brake pads worked great because they were flame-retardant and did not bind easily. Even though asbestos pads and linings worked great, what was often not discussed was the real danger asbestos posed to anyone that came in contact with it. And even though most asbestos applications were banned in the ’70s, the asbestos pad can still be found to this day in some cars.
What is the danger here? Well, when you drive around, the asbestos pad is put to work each time you break. Now, while it does its job, it’s going to wear down a bit. The asbestos pad creates dust as it wears down. This dust is released into the air as you drive. However, most of this toxic dust is contained and trapped within the clutch or brake. You might be thinking that this is good because it’s out of the way and not hurting anyone? Wrong!
The real problem here comes when it’s time to repair a car. You take your car into the shop and the mechanic comes face to face with the trapped asbestos dust, most definitely inhaling it. Or, if you’re the type of person that likes to work on your own car, you could be exposed to the dust from the asbestos pads. This puts you at risk for inhaling those microscopic asbestos fibers and you can even get the dust on your hands and clothes. Once you go back inside, your whole family is at risk for exposure.
Asbestos exposure is very serious and has very serious consequences. Even though you may not experience any symptoms for up to 30 years after exposure, upon inhaling asbestos fibers, one may have asbestosis, lung cancer or mesothelioma. Asbestosis causes scarring of the lungs, leading to permanent damage of the lungs. Mesothelioma is a cancer of the membranes surrounding the heart, lungs and abdomen. It typically has a poor prognosis because by the time symptoms are apparent, it is in the advanced stages.
If you think your car has asbestos pads and brake linings, take it to a mechanic with your concerns.