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Asbestos Brake Best Practices for Preventing Exposure

Among Brake and Clutch Repair Workers

On April 2, 2007, EPA released the final brochure entitled, “Current Best Practices for Preventing Asbestos Exposure Among Brake and Clutch Repair Workers.” The brochure is intended to provide information for automotive professionals and home mechanics on preventing exposure to brake and clutch dust that may contain asbestos fibers.

(A pdf of the brochure can be downloaded, below.)

Who can use asbestos break information for help?

Asbestos was commonly used in automotive asbestos brake and clutch parts until the 1980s, and some vehicles still contain asbestos brake and clutch parts to this day. Some automotive gaskets also contain asbestos fibers. The Best Practices brochure can help professional automotive technicians and home mechanics to minimize potential asbestos exposure and reduce their risk of developing an asbestos-related disease.

How do I know if I have asbestos brake or clutch components?

You cannot tell whether asbestos brake or clutch components contain asbestos simply by looking at them. For newer vehicles and parts, auto manufacturers, auto parts retailers and packaging information, such as labels or Material Safety Data Sheets(MSDS), may be able to tell you whether or not your asbestos brake or clutch components contain asbestos. For older vehicles, or vehicles that have had brakesreplaced, you may not be able to easily find out if the asbestos brake or clutch components contain asbestos. As a best practice, OSHA states that mechanics should assume that all brakes have asbestos-type shoes. Worn non-asbestos-type brakes cannot be readily distinguished from asbestos-type shoes. If a mechanic assumes incorrectly that a shoe is a non-asbestos type and fails to utilize brake dust control procedures, increased asbestos exposure may result.

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