A study commissioned by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer has revealed that auto mechanics may unknowingly be at high risk of asbestos in automotive brake pads from brake linings with high contamination in gas stations and repair shops spread over six states.

Mesothelioma is caused by asbestos, a mineral used in insulation, brake pad linings and a variety of other items, is the known cause of a deadly cancer, mesothelioma. Frequent or prolonged exposure to asbestos fibres can result in this malignant disease, although symptoms generally do not present themselves for around thirty years or more.

The study sampled a number gas stations and brake repair shops in the following cities and states: Richmond, Chicago, Denver, Baltimore, Seattle and Washington. Out of the thirty-one samples, twenty-one of them were contaminated, illustrating that those working and breathing in this contaminated dust every day are put at high risk. The levels of chrysotile, which is a form of asbestos, varied in the samples from 2.26 percent to over sixty percent.

Protective gear and masking should be worn anywhere that there is over one percent of asbestos contamination. Although, in the 1980s, colleges and schools were warned of the occupational hazards of auto work in relation to asbestos, the 1990s saw research programmes into controlling asbestos in auto-related establishments come to a halt due to lack of federal funding.

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