EPA updates guidelines on reducing mechanics’ asbestos exposure

August 24th, 2006

The Environmental Protection Agency has revised its recommendations on how auto mechanics can better protect themselves from asbestos exposure. The EPA released a draft brochure called “Current Best Practices for Preventing Asbestos Exposure Among Brake and Clutch Repair Workers.”

The brochure describes work practices that are meant to avoid asbestos exposure and summarizes previous regulatory requirements for automotive professionals and home mechanics, issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that has been used for decades. Manufactured goods containing asbestos are valued due to their high tensile strength, heat resistance and chemical stability. As a result, it has long been used in automobile clutch and brake parts. But exposure to asbestos has been proven to greatly increase a person’s chance of getting mesothelioma, a deadly form of cancer. Every year, nearly 10,000 people (including 3,000 in the United States alone) get a mesothelioma diagnosis.

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