Auto repair illness or acute sickness caused by performing car repairs is another topic I wish we could avoid. Unfortunately as an old-school car mechanic that's been turning wrenches for more than 25 years, I know more than one malignant mesothelioma patient.
Back when I started as an auto mechanic we weren't protecting ourselves against asbestos related sickness or disease. As professional auto mechanics, we may be exposed to harmful dust more often than the do-it-yourself auto mechanic. However, safety around this toxic material should be practiced by anyone who works with it.
Dust masks and respirators should be worn whenever you will be exposed to toxic fumes or excessive amounts of dust especially from friction materials like clutches and brake pads. Often overlooked is material from gaskets cleaned with pneumatic grinders.
3M cleaning pads installed on a whiz wheel can turn old gaskets to dust and kick it right towards your face when they are removed. Cleaning parts with solvents and painting are some other common activities during which respiratory masks, safety glasses and protective gloves should also be worn.
But High efficiency respiratory dust masks should be worn when handling parts that have asbestos dust on them or when handling any hazardous materials. Airborne fibers can be easily inhaled and might even be ingested later if the fibers get on skin surfaces and clothes. This is a particularly difficult problem for DIY car mechanics, since they often get grease on their hands. Fiber from friction materials and gaskets can stick to this grease.
Obviously you want to avoid breathing in asbestos fibers and avoid bringing the clothes contaminated with this stuff into your house. This is one reason that shops usually offer a uniform service. Let them deal with the clothes cleaning and don't bring work clothes into your house.
Toxic dust can be controlled with liquids meant to stop the dust from getting air-born. You still need to ware a mask though. There are certain guidelines you should follow when working around these hazardous items. The shop that I work in performs a massive amount of clutch replacements and brake jobs.
The rule of thumb is to consider this friction material as containing asbestos when you work with it. We are employing two methods of dealing with asbestos fiber dust. We have a specially designed HEPA vacuum cleaner to remove the bulk of the dust from the work area. We also have a low pressure wet cleaning machine that is OSHA approved and a preferred method of compliance when cleaning these areas.
Asbestos has been identified as a health hazard. Asbestos is a term used to describe a number of naturally occurring fibrous materials. It's identified as a carcinogen and is believed to cause a number of diseases that result in cancer. Mesothelioma is a form of lung cancer.
When asbestos fibers are taken into the lungs they can cause scarring of the lungs and cause damage to air passageways. Be aware that when you perform your own brake jobs, gasket removal and clutch replacements that you should be extremely cautious with the dust created and present in the work area.
Wear safety glasses and gloves to protect the skin and eyes! Never blow the dust and never use an air hose for cleaning these areas. As a driveway mechanic you may not have the long-term exposure that professional auto mechanics experience. But you also won't have the advantage of HEPA vacuum cleaners and approved wet cleaning devices that they are now employing.
Protect yourself from becoming a mesothelioma patient by wearing protective respiratory devices as well as wearing disposable clothing and protective gloves. Since I am not a doctor or a mesothelioma lawyer I'm going to supply a link to an extremely informative website that provides in my opinion trustworthy Asbestos information.
The website I found that seems to
cover this topic from start to finish is Automotive asbestos.com
here you will find a lot of valuable information along with signs and
symptoms of mesothelioma and other lung problems related to auto
Performing your own car repairs can be fun and rewarding. Make sure you protect yourself with all of the safety gear required to reap the rewards and avoid auto repair illness. Here you can find more information about auto repair safety.
Find out what protective gear I use and were I got it. This next link takes you to some
car repair safety gear.
Find out why I have donated all of my paper repair diagrams to a local college. Also see a video of me using the latest online service and repair manuals. This is the future of automobile repairs (my opinion).
Find out more about this car repair website on the YouFixCars.com Homepage.