Asbestos is a mineral that has been used for over a century to make building materials, household items and car parts resistant to damage caused by heat, open flames or chemicals. Exposure to asbestos was discovered to be deadly in the 1970s, and the material has fallen out of favour for many applications. Exposure to asbestos can lead to various types of cancer and diseases of the lungs. One product that may contain asbestos is automotive brake pads or brake shoes.
For nearly as long as there have been cars on the road, companies have been selling brake shoes that contain asbestos. Some companies that sell the asbestos brake pads have been around since the 1920s. Even in the 21st century, companies still sell brake shoes made from asbestos.
Companies that have sold asbestos brake shoes (either in the past or currently) include: Bendix, Raymark, Abex, Delco, Mopar, Wagner, Ford, GM and Hayes.
Are Asbestos Brake Shoes Illegal?
While asbestos has been known to be dangerous to human health for several decades, the use of the material has been banned by the U.S. government only for certain uses or products. While asbestos is banned from many other types of products, it is still legal to use asbestos to make disc brake pads and drum brake linings.
While the use of asbestos in brake shoes is not regulated, the amount of asbestos particles allowed ,in the air of workplaces, such as an auto repair shop, is federally mandated. However, from 1973 to 2003, the government did not have a program in place to routinely monitor these air quality issues, according to the website asbestosnetwork.com.
In 1989, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) conducted a study which showed that most brakes made in the U.S. still contained asbestos. It is uncertain what percentage of brake pads contain asbestos today, as organisations like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration do not keep these kind of records.
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