Automotive Mechanics & Asbestos Exposure

Those in the automotive industry kept vehicles running safely for millions of people. However, they may have also been exposed to asbestos on a daily basis. Until the 1980s, asbestos was a key component of many car parts because it was a good insulator. What most mechanics did not know was that asbestos could cause serious diseases like mesothelioma.

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Automotive Mechanic & Asbestos-Related Disease Risks

Auto mechanics maintained various car parts to keep vehicles operating safely. Unfortunately, many car parts were made with asbestos before the 1980s. In the auto industry, many considered the toxic material to be helpful because it could reduce heat and friction, particularly in brake, clutch, and engine systems.

Since it was so widely used, many automotive workers came into contact with asbestos-containing products on a weekly or daily basis. Fibers could break off from parts, linger in the air, and even stick to workers’ clothes, bringing the material home with them.

By the late 1980s, asbestos became linked to serious illnesses decades after it was widely used by dozens of industries. Despite efforts to increase regulations and occupational safety, many retired or veteran auto mechanics are now battling asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis.

These illnesses are chronic, and life-improving treatment is too often costly and out of reach for patients. Thankfully, Sokolove Law can help you get the compensation you deserve from asbestos product manufacturers.

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At Sokolove Law, we’ve recovered over $5 Billion for thousands of mesothelioma patients and their families nationwide. Let us get you the results you deserve.

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Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a rare cancer that affects the thin lining of internal organs such as the lungs, stomach, and heart. The main cause of mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos.

Since auto mechanics worked, or may still work, with asbestos-containing products nearly every day, they are at an increased risk of developing this serious disease.

Common symptoms of mesothelioma include:

  • Chest pain
  • Chronic cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Weight loss

Former or current auto mechanics experiencing these symptoms should talk with a doctor immediately to begin screening options. Early detection is the best way to improve symptoms after a diagnosis.

Asbestos Lung Cancer

Many people think that lung cancer is only caused by cigarette smoke. However, lung cancer can be caused by several factors, including exposure to asbestos and environmental pollutants such as car exhaust.

This puts auto mechanics at significant risk of developing asbestos-related lung cancer.

Symptoms of lung cancer may include:

  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Persistent cough
  • Shortness of breath

If you are experiencing these symptoms and believe you were exposed to asbestos due to your occupation, talk with your doctor as soon as possible. They will begin screening for lung cancer or other asbestos-related illnesses.

Even if you smoked cigarettes and were later diagnosed with asbestos-related lung cancer, you may still be eligible for compensation. Call (800) 647-3434 now to learn more.

Asbestosis

Asbestosis is a noncancerous chronic illness that affects the lungs, caused by asbestos fibers remaining in the lungs for years, causing irritation or other damage. These fibers impact lung function and can lead to fluid buildup in the lungs or other harmful symptoms.

Asbestosis symptoms include:

  • Chest pain
  • Loss of appetite leading to weight loss
  • Shortness of breath

Asbestosis, while not cancerous, can lead to even more harmful illnesses, including mesothelioma or even heart failure.

If you are experiencing these symptoms, contact your doctor immediately to work through diagnosis and potential treatment options.

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If you have a caseAfter a quick case review, Sokolove Law can begin working to get you financial compensation from the manufacturers of dangerous asbestos products.

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Asbestos in Car & Truck Parts

Throughout the 20th century, asbestos was commonly used in products that automotive mechanics handled almost daily. When mechanics would work on vehicles with asbestos-containing parts, microscopic — and toxic — fibers could become airborne.

Notable car parts that were made with asbestos included:

  • Brake pads, drums, and linings: To replace old brake pads, workers must drill, sand, or grind down the parts so they easily crumble. New brake linings may also need to be filed down so they can withstand sudden stops. This work creates high amounts of asbestos-laced dust that workers may breathe in.
  • Clutch and transmission plates: Since clutch plates control energy from the engine to the wheels, they are frequently exposed to friction and heat. Clutch components gradually wear out over time, releasing small amounts of toxic dust if they were made with asbestos. The replacement of clutch components may also cause these fibers to enter the air.
  • Engine gaskets and other parts: Asbestos was used in engine parts to keep them resistant to heat, coolant fluid, and oil. During major engine repairs old parts would be destroyed and replaced . Asbestos fibers could be released as these parts got removed, broken, or worn out.
  • Hood Liners: Many hood liners were made with asbestos because of the mineral’s fireproofing and soundproofing properties. However, this also meant that people could be exposed anytime they looked under the hood.
Vehicles May Still Contain Asbestos

Some vehicle parts may still be made with asbestos today. A big example of this is the aftermarket car parts sold in foreign countries. These products should be thoroughly examined before you buy them. Vintage or older vehicles should also be checked for asbestos parts before purchase.

Auto Industry Roles at High Risk of Asbestos Exposure

Auto mechanics were not the only ones at risk of asbestos exposure on the job. Many other auto-related jobs could expose workers to asbestos-containing products.

Auto repair occupations that used asbestos include:

  • Auto body technician
  • Bag opener
  • Bale roller
  • Brake mechanic
  • Carder of asbestos yarn
  • Clutch assembler and mechanic
  • Crusher
  • Cutter
  • Design engineer
  • Electrician
  • Engine mechanic
  • Fabricator
  • Foreman
  • Forklift operator
  • Foundry worker
  • Grinder
  • Hopper loader
  • Laborer
  • Loader
  • Beaterman
  • Boilermaker
  • Maintenance mechanic
  • Millwright
  • Mixer
  • Molder
  • Operator
  • Patcher
  • Pipefitter
  • Plant worker
  • Plumber
  • Production engineer
  • Production worker
  • Puncher
  • Runner
  • Salesman
  • Brake and clutch repairman
  • Saw operator
  • Service station workers
  • Spinner of asbestos cloths
  • Steamfitter
  • Stock preparation worker
  • Supervisor
  • Tire builder
  • Tow motor driver
  • Troubleshooter
  • Warehouseman
  • Weaver
  • Welder

In addition to these jobs, the families of workers could suffer from secondhand exposure. If asbestos fibers are disturbed, they can get stuck to the clothes and skin of workers. Workers can then bring the fibers home with them, and unknowingly put their family members in danger.

Help for Auto Mechanics Exposed to Asbestos

For auto mechanics and their families, a cancer diagnosis can be devastating. To make matters worse, asbestos-caused cancers like mesothelioma have no cure and are often diagnosed after they have spread throughout the body.

Sokolove Law is here for you and your loved ones. For over 40 years, we have successfully fought to get victims and families the justice they deserve.

We have recovered over $5 Billion so victims and their families can receive the treatment they need and financial security.

As a national asbestos law firm, we can take cases from every state and will make the legal process easy. While you focus on your health, we focus on your legal rights.

Contact us today at (800) 647-3434 or submit a free legal case review to get started.

Auto Mechanic Asbestos Exposure FAQs

Do mechanics get mesothelioma?

Yes. Auto mechanics may be at an increased risk of developing serious illnesses such as mesothelioma and lung cancer. This is because many vehicle parts were made with asbestos-containing products.

For years, asbestos product manufacturers hid the dangers of asbestos and put millions at risk of developing mesothelioma or other asbestos-related illnesses.

If you've been diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact Sokolove Law now at (800) 647-3434. We can fight on your behalf for the compensation your family needs.

Are mechanics exposed to asbestos?

Possibly, yes. Before the 1980s, many car parts were made with asbestos due to its heat-resistant qualities.

During maintenance and upkeep on these parts, asbestos fibers could break off, linger in the air, and even stick to workers’ clothes. When inhaled or ingested the fibers remain in the body causing serious damage and leading to mesothelioma, lung cancer, or other asbestos-related illnesses.

For 40 years Sokolove Law has fought for compensation for victims of asbestos product manufacturers. Contact us at (800) 647-3434 to see if you qualify.

When did car brakes no longer contain asbestos?

While regulations were put in place in the late 1980s to limit asbestos use, some car parts, especially those made internationally, may still include asbestos. Auto mechanics should be mindful of occupational risks, wear protective gear, and monitor for symptoms regularly.

Can you get sick from one exposure to asbestos?

Unfortunately, yes. There is no safe level of asbestos. Just one instance of exposure could mean asbestos fibers were inhaled or ingested and remain in the body. Symptoms may not show until 20-50 years after your first exposure.

That is why it is so important to be mindful of the risk factors and symptoms of asbestos-related illnesses. Working with doctors regularly will increase your chances of detecting the illnesses earlier and beginning critical treatment.

How do I treat asbestos exposure?

Since symptoms of an asbestos-related disease may not develop until 20-50 years after exposure, there isn’t an immediate treatment plan for general asbestos exposure. Treatments for mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis, and other illnesses are unique for each case and each patient.

If you are experiencing symptoms, work with your doctor to begin screening. Or if you have already received a diagnosis, contact our on-staff nurses at (800) 647-3434 for help understanding treatment options.

Author:Sokolove Law Team
Sokolove Law Team

Contributing Authors

The Sokolove Law Content Team is made up of writers, editors, and journalists. We work with case managers and attorneys to keep site information up to date and accurate. Our site has a wealth of resources available for victims of wrongdoing and their families.

Last modified: December 2, 2022

View 3 Sources
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  2. American Cancer Society. “Malignant Mesothelioma.” Retrieved from: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/malignant-mesothelioma.html. Accessed on November 28, 2022.
  3. Finkelstein, M. (2015). “Asbestos Fibres in the Lungs of an American Mechanic Who Drilled, Riveted, and Ground Brake Linings: A Case Report and Discussion.” The Annals of Occupational Hygiene. Retrieved from: https://academic.oup.com/annweh/article/59/4/525/2196055?login=false. Accessed on November 28, 2022.