A Diary Of A Mesowarrior – The Story of #Asbestos in Motor Cars that can cause #Mesothelioma








I have a different sort of blog today as it’s not about me but I was sent some photo’s today of a car that my Face Book friend Steven Court, a car enthusiast, had taken.

We often hear Mesowarriors say they do not know where their contamination comes from. But they never really know that they might have stood in a garage as the cars were being worked on or a man has worked on a car and contaminated himself and even carried the asbestos dust into the house on his clothes.

We just did not know all the dangers.

So for just in case info will help I have put together these articles.

Here are the wonderful photos of a car that is being restored and it clearly shows the dangers of doing that















You can imagine laying underneath and filing, banging etc and knocking Asbestos all over yourself even getting it into your mouth.

Auto parts, including brakes, clutches and heat seals, contain asbestos because of its heat-resistant qualities, but when these parts start to break apart or disintegrate, the asbestos escapes into the air and onto the clothes of the auto mechanics.
Since repair shops also are notorious for poor indoor air quality and circulation, the combination of inadequate air flow and free-floating asbestos particles makes this occupation especially dangerous.
Products and Locations
Asbestos was a popular component for vehicular brakes because of its heat resistance and strength. The concentration of asbestos in these components was estimated at 30 to 80 percent. The number of American automobile mechanics exposed to asbestos dust from brake and clutch work is estimated at 900,000. The routine tasks of “blowing out” brake surfaces (using an air hose to clean the surfaces) and beveling were considered two of the most common ways these workers were exposed.
The use of asbestos for brake linings was never abandoned completely. In 1993, Ford was still using them on the Crown Victoria to silence a brake noise problem. These asbestos linings are also still in use in high-end imports like the Land Rover and can even be purchased in the aftermarket, meaning parts from a manufacturer other than the original maker of the vehicle.
Front-wheel drive also contributes to asbestos exposure because these vehicles require semi-metallic front disc brake pads that withstand up to extreme temperatures reached during operation of the vehicle.
Hoodliners – Over the past few decades, millions of vehicles have been manufactured with automotive hood liners constructed from asbestos fibers. While asbestos is remarkably fire-resistant, it is also the leading cause of mesothelioma, an extremely deadly form of cancer.
Brakes – During normal automobile use, asbestos brake linings wear down through friction, releasing asbestos dust just as sanding wood creates sawdust. Much of this asbestos dust is trapped in the brake housing. When the brake housing is opened, that dust is released into the air where workers can inhale or ingest it.
Clutches – Some clutch parts in use today, both in new and older car models, contain asbestos. During normal wear, the asbestos is ground down and may collect around the parts and in clutch compartments. When the disc, clutch cover, drum or wheel is removed, that dust may be released into the air where it can be inhaled or swallowed.
Gasket Material, Heat Seals, Valve Rings and Packing – For decades, asbestos-containing gaskets, heat seal material, valve rings, and packing were used in virtually every system that involved the transport of fluids or gases. Prior to the mid-1970s, some automobile exhaust systems contained asbestos gaskets either at flanges along the exhaust pipes or at the exhaust manifolds of the engine.
Occupational Exposure
An investigation conducted by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer found the high exposure levels at gas stations and brake repair shops could place approximately 1 in 10 unprotected mechanics at risk for developing an asbestos-related cancer. The study examined shops located in cities such as Baltimore, Maryland; Boston, Massachusetts; Chicago, Illinois; Denver, Colorado; Richmond, Virginia; Seattle, Washington; and Washington, D.C.
Dust found in shops and garages contained between 2.26 percent and 63.8 percent asbestos. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the use of protective suits and respirators is required if 1 percent or more of asbestos is present. The report from the Post-Intelligencer also found significant amounts of asbestos in 6 out of 9 brake jobs that were examined.

A detailed diagram of where Asbestos-Related Automotive Parts are found in automobiles.
How Asbestos Exposure Occurs
When asbestos-containing materials are disturbed or damaged, they release a dust filled with microscopic asbestos fibers into the air. As a result, the very nature of brake and clutch functions causes continual abrasion, and this releases the imbedded asbestos fibers. A large portion of the toxic material is trapped inside the brake housing or clutch space, and is then released when replacement or repair work is performed.
Asbestos fibers can be further spread into the surrounding air by the vacuums used to clean the work area during and after the job. The fibers tend to linger in the air long after a job is done and can spread 75 feet from the work area, potentially exposing other mechanics and customers who enter the shop. Airborne asbestos fibers are easily inhaled and can be ingested if fibers get on hands and clothes. This is a particularly difficult problem for mechanics, since they often get grease on their hands and asbestos fibers can stick to the grease. Tragically, asbestos can even be carried home on workers’ clothing, exposing their families to the hazardous material.
Hazardous Cleaning Techniques
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) advisory instructs mechanics to assume that all brakes contain asbestos because a mere visual inspection does not indicate which brakes include asbestos and which do not.
The following brake cleaning techniques can result in the release of asbestos into the air and consequently may lead to employee exposure:
Using a shop vacuum cleaner is not fine enough to collect asbestos fibers.
Using compressed air through a hose to clean drum brakes.
Wiping parts with a dry rag or brushing dust off the assembly.
Using squirt bottles or solvent sprays top clean parts.
Using a water hose to remove dust.
Safety Measures to Reduce Exposure
The EPA issued a detailed brochure that offers information regarding OSHA’s regulations for commercial automotive shops concerning asbestos. The recommendations are separated into commercial automotive shops that perform more than five brake or clutch jobs per week, and those that perform less than five.
OSHA regulations require shops performing more than five brake or clutch jobs a week to use one of the following practices:
Negative-Pressure Enclosure/HEPA Vacuum System Method: This kind of enclosure and vacuum system features a special box with clear plastic walls (or windows), which fits tightly around a brake or clutch assembly in order to prevent asbestos exposure.
Low Pressure/Wet Cleaning Method: This specially designed low-pressure spray equipment wets the brake assembly and catches the asbestos-contaminated runoff in a special basin to reduce or prevent airborne brake dust from spreading.
For shops performing less than five brake or clutch jobs a week, the following method should be used:
Wet Wipe Method: This method uses a spray bottle (or other device that can deliver a fine mist of water), or amended water (water with a detergent), at low pressure to wet all brake and clutch parts. These parts can then be wiped with a cloth.
For those who repair or replace their own brakes or clutches at home and have no way of knowing if the materials contain asbestos (as is the case in most instances), the EPA recommends having the job done at a commercial shop to avoid exposure. If this is not an option, the agency then recommends using the preventative measures required of commercial shops performing more than five brake or clutch jobs a week. If an individual lacks the professional equipment required, then the wet wipe method is recommended.
Scientific Studies
A number of scientific studies published from 2002-2004 concluded that brake dust was not a cause of mesothelioma. Researcher Murray Finkelstein noticed some characteristics of asbestos fiber analysis used in these studies that led to this conclusion could be interpreted in a different way. He re-analyzed the data published in these studies on the lung content of chrysotile and tremolite asbestos among brake mechanics and control subjects that participated in each of these trials.
He discovered:
Average fiber concentrations were higher among the brake workers than the controls.
The concentration of tremolite fibers was higher than the concentration of chrysotile in the lung tissue samples that were examined.
He concluded that brake mechanics have a significant amount of asbestos fibers in their lung tissue, which was caused by occupational exposure to dust from friction products manufactured from Canadian chrysotile asbestos. This put mechanics at increased risk of asbestos-associated cancers.
In 2005, the United Auto Workers (UAW) endorsed a plan to create a $140 billion asbestos compensation fund, a bipartisan compromise agreed to by U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Penn., who was chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the ranking Democrat on the committee.
Companies facing asbestos lawsuits and their insurers would contribute to the fund and victims would no longer be able to sue. The highest monetary award of $1.1 million would be reserved for those who developed mesothelioma.
However, the fund never got off the ground. Three bills were written to create the fund, but all the proposals died in committee. The UAW has not brought up the issue since then.


America’s toxic legacy may leave behind a half-million deaths
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The first sign of trouble came as Bill Rogers was mowing his lawn one morning in January 2007. “As I would go back and forth with the mower, I would run out of air,” says Rogers, 67, of Palm Bay, Fla.
Rogers went to the doctor and learned that his right lung was full of fluid. Three days later he was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a lethal tumor that occurs in the lining of the chest or the abdomen and is almost always associated with asbestos exposure. “I’d heard of it, but I didn’t really know what it was,” he says. “They told me it’s not a good cancer to get.”
That Rogers is alive more than three years after his diagnosis is something of a miracle. To him, the source of his illness is clear: He worked on or around asbestos-containing automobile brakes, mostly at General Motors dealerships, for 44 years. He and his co-workers had used compressed-air hoses to clean out brake drums, where debris from worn asbestos brake shoes would collect, and had filed and sanded the shoes when installing new brakes. Although he routinely wore a respirator while sanding plastic filler during body work, he says, no one ever told him he needed one for brake work.
Rogers sued GM, Ford, Chrysler, and seven manufacturers and suppliers of brakes and clutches in 2008 and settled with the last of them in 2009. He is among hundreds of former mechanics and body shop employees known to have developed mesothelioma after working on brakes, clutches and gaskets, which contained the most common form of the mineral —chrysotile, or white, asbestos – well into the 1990s.Many have sued auto manufacturers and parts makers, litigation that reflects the unceasing burden of asbestos disease in the United States.
Asbestos has decimated the ranks of miners, millers, factory workers, insulators and shipyard workers, some of whom began filing workers’ compensation claims as far back as the 1930s. The modern era of asbestos lawsuits began the 1970s with claims from these same groups of workers. Many took in massive doses of fiber and died of diseases such as asbestosis, which can develop within a decade of initial exposure. Some of the cases involved mixtures of amosite, or brown, asbestos, which is no longer used, and chrysotile.
In court now, aside from a few heavily exposed workers, are mechanics, teachers from asbestos-filled schools, and wives and children of workers who brought home asbestos on their clothing. Most of these people had relatively light exposures and developed mesothelioma, a disease that can take 30, 40 or even 50 years to appear.
Although asbestos use in the U.S. plummeted from a peak of 803,000 metric tons in 1973 to just 1,460 metric tons in 2008, the nation’s epidemic is far from over. As many as 10,000 Americans still die of asbestos-related diseases each year; one expert estimates that 300,000 or so will die within the next three decades.
A Mounting Toll

Once broadly utilized by U.S. industry — not only in brakes but also in construction, insulation and shipbuilding — asbestos was heralded for its remarkable resistance to fire and heat. Strong and inexpensive, the naturally occurring, fibrous mineral acquired a darker reputation in the 1960s as its health effects became widely known.
Internal documents showing corporate knowledge of the mineral’s carcinogenic properties began to surface, and by 1981 more than 200 companies and insurers had been sued. The following year, the nation’s biggest maker of asbestos products — Johns Manville Corp. — filed for bankruptcy protection in an effort to hold off the tide of litigation. From the early 1970s through 2002, more than 730,000 people filed asbestos claims, resulting in costs to the industry of about $70 billion, according to a 2005 study by the RAND Corp. Of this amount, about $49 billion went to victims and their lawyers, and $21 billion went toward other legal costs.
Asbestos use has largely moved overseas, fueled by an aggressive industry campaign that has pushed up chrysotile consumption in fast-growing countries like China, Brazil, and India. Banned or restricted in 52 countries, asbestos products can still be sold in the U.S. but are largely limited to auto and aircraft brakes and gaskets. China, the world’s leading consumer, used 626,000 metric tons of asbestos in 2007 — 350 times the amount used in America that year.
The decline in usage in the U.S., however, has done little for those already exposed — and for those who continue to be at risk. Long latency periods for mesothelioma and lung cancer ensure that there will be victims for years to come, health experts say. Last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 18,068 Americans died of mesothelioma from 1999 through 2005, with the annual toll edging toward 3,000. Another 1,500 or so die each year of asbestosis, a rate that has “apparently plateaued,” according to the CDC. The number of asbestos-related lung cancer deaths is harder to pin down given theubiquity of smoking, but could be as high as 8,000 per year. Dr. Richard Lemen, a former assistant U.S. surgeon general who consults for plaintiffs in asbestos cases, has cited estimates of 189,000 to 231,000 worker deaths from all asbestos-related diseases from 1980 to 2007. “Another 270,000 to 330,000 deaths are expected to occur over the next 30 years,” he told a Senate committee in 2007.
If Lemen’s figures are correct, that would put the death toll from America’s asbestos age at a half-million people. In its 2005 study, RAND similarly projected 432,465 asbestos-related cancer deaths from 1965 through 2029; this number excludes fatal cases of asbestosis.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency tried to ban asbestos in 1989 but was stopped by an industry lawsuit. Legislation to impose a ban has failed to pass since Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash, introduced it in 2002. Murray has pointed out that imported asbestos brakes are still being sold for older vehicles, putting both professional mechanics and weekend tinkerers at risk, and that asbestos can be found in a variety of items. Laboratory tests commissioned by the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), a victims’ advocacy group, have revealed the presence of asbestos in products as diverse as window glazing made in the U.S. and a toy fingerprinting kit made in China. ADAO’s CEO, Linda Reinstein, says she is hopeful that proposed revisions to the notoriously weak Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 would close loopholes that allowed the 1989 ban to be overturned.
Experts say that the current U.S. workplace standard for asbestos — 0.1 fibers per cubic centimeter of air, adopted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in 1994 — still allows a worker to inhale more than 1 million fibers over the course of a day. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) estimates that exposures at this level will produce five lung cancer deaths and two asbestosis deaths for every 1,000 workers exposed over a lifetime. Federal officials believe that 1.3 million workers in general industry and construction and 45,000 miners are still exposed to asbestos.
$43 Million of Pro-Industry Science
Mindful of their potential liability on brake linings, GM, Ford and Chrysler have fought the current round of mesothelioma lawsuits with vigor. Court records show that the three have paid nearly $43 million since 2001 to scientific experts at two consulting firms — ChemRisk and Exponent — who have testified that the amounts of chrysotile fibers released from the handling of brake shoes (used in older drum brakes) and pads (used in newer disc brakes) were either harmless or in insufficient quantities to cause disease.
Several of these experts — most notably Dennis Paustenbach, president of ChemRisk and former vice president of Exponent — have published papers in peer-reviewed journals concluding that brake mechanics are not at increased risk of developing mesothelioma or lung cancer. The papers are offered as evidence by defendants seeking to avoid financial blows like the $15 million verdict returned against Ford by a Baltimore jury on April 28. In that case, Joan Dixon, a 68-year-old grandmother, died of mesothelioma after washing her husband’s asbestos-coated work clothes for 14 years. Her husband, Bernard, had done part-time brake work in a garage that specialized in Ford vehicles. A ChemRisk toxicologist, Brent Finley, was a defense expert in the case. A Ford spokeswoman declined to comment on the verdict.
In a separate amicus brief filed with the Michigan Supreme Court in 2007, more than 50 physicians and scientists took aim at industry consultants retained in the brake litigation. “It is in no way surprising that the experts and papers financed by these manufacturers conclude that asbestos in brakes can never cause mesothelioma,” the brief says.
The brief contends that Paustenbach’s work on asbestos follows a “business model” under which he publishes exculpatory papers on compounds – such as hexavalent chromium, the groundwater pollutant at the center of the Erin Brockovich case in California – that are the subject of lawsuits. Paustenbach strongly denies the charge. Records show that his firm, ChemRisk, was paid almost $12 million by the three automakers from 2001 to 2009.
In an e-mailed statement, Paustenbach maintained that he is an impartial scientist and pointed to a pair of studies on radiation and an industrial chemical in which he delivered bad news to his funders. “Our thorough and independent research and analysis stand on their own merits,” he wrote of his work on asbestos, “and there has been no specific credible challenge to the conclusions we drew.”
A scientist with Exponent, which received $31 million from the automakers, agreed with Paustenbach. Epidemiological studies “have shown quite convincingly that neither lung cancer nor mesothelioma risks are increased among workers engaged in automotive, including brake, repair,” Dr. Suresh Moolgavkar wrote in a statement.
Ford said in a statement that the “vast majority of money” it has spent on consultants like ChemRisk “is directly related to expert costs incurred in defending the Company against meritless lawsuits … and is not related to the funding of scientific studies.” A spokesman forChrysler declined to comment; a GM spokesman did not respond to requests for comment.


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