Asbestos was regularly used in automotive manufacturing because it was inexpensive, strong and resistant to the heat and friction generated by vehicles. Asbestos was most often used in clutches, brake pads, engine components, insulation, and the body of the vehicle. It was not until the public became aware of the health hazards linked to asbestos, such as mesothelioma cancer, that its use was regulated in the United States.
Shade Tree Mechanics are auto enthusiasts who work on maintenance and upgrades to vehicles as a hobby at home. Like professional auto mechanics, shade tree mechanics performing maintenance on their own vehicles are at risk of developing mesothelioma from asbestos exposure.
As shadetree mechanics worked to upgrade and maintain their cars, they were often installing, removing and replacing asbestos containing parts. Asbestos containing parts are not a danger as long as they remain undamaged. It is when these parts are altered or begin to break down that the risk of exposure is created as friable asbestos is released into the air. When these hobby mechanics handled, damaged and removed these car parts, asbestos dust was created by many of these actions. For example, cleaning out brake and clutch surfaces released asbestos dust trapped in wheel wells that had been created by normal wear and tear and filing new brake pads created shavings of asbestos fibers. Once these tiny asbestos strands are made airborne, they linger in the air where they can easily be ingested or inhaled. Inside the body, they can become lodged in organ tissues causing scarring and inflammation that may develop into mesothelioma cancer, lung cancer, asbestosis, and other illnesses.
While it is not generally used in the production of new parts today, shade tree mechanics are often working on older vehicles which may still contain parts with high levels of asbestos.
Millions of people have been exposed to asbestos over the years. Generally, it takes 10 to 60 years from the time of asbestos exposure until symptoms appear or mesothelioma is diagnosed. Only now are we able to see the disastrous effects of asbestos exposure in the workplace.
Many of the companies have established trust funds to pay compensation to persons injured by asbestos.
If you have mesothelioma, or other asbestos-related injury, and wish to consult an attorney about your legal rights to compensation, CLICK HERE for a free consultation.