Asbestos-related diseases, including mesothelioma and lung cancer, are becoming more common among brake and auto mechanics. Significant exposure to asbestos occurred during the repair and maintenance of asbestos-containing brake pads and linings, clutch facings and gaskets. Indviduals who worked in an auto shop where others were performing brake work could have been exposed to harmful asbestos dust and fibers.
Prior to the 1990s, brake linings contained large percentages of Canadian chrysotile, which is a dangerous type of asbestos consisting of curly and flexible fibers. Asbestos is incorporated into brake linings because it acts as an excellent bonding agent and is resilient to high temperatures. Many manufacturers of heavy-duty brake linings still incorporate asbestos into their products, despite being aware of the health dangers asbestos poses on those who work on brake systems.
Drum brake systems, which incorporate brake linings, either bonded or riveted to metal shoes, are significantly more hazardous than disc brake systems. During a typical drum brake job, a mechanic may have been exposed to asbestos in the following manners:
- Air-hosing the brake assembly after removing the drum.
- Sanding or grinding old shoes to completely remove the lining in preparation for the installation of a new lining.
- Drilling brake linings attached to shoes with rivets.
- Sanding or grinding brake linings to create a proper fit underneath the drum.
- Grinding or filing chamfers on the edges of the brake lining to help alleviate brake noise.
- Sweeping the area (both floors and work benches) after work is completed.
By conducting the activities above, a tremendous amount of airborne dust is emitted into the breathing area of not only the mechanic performing the work, but also other mechanics, shop supervisors, parts runners, or anyone else who worked in the vicinity where brakes are removed and applied.
Common defendants in an asbestos-related brake case include:
- ADVANCED AUTO PARTS
- ALLIEDSIGNAL INC. individually and as successor in interest to ALLIED CORPORATION, as successor in interest to THE BENDIX CORPORATION
- AP PARTS MANUFACTURING COMPANY
- ARVIN MERITOR, INC. successor in interest to the former automotive segment of ROCKWELL INTERNATIONAL CORPORATION
- AUSTIN AUTO PARTS INC.
- AUTOMOTIVE BRAKE CO. OF NEWBURGH, INC.
- BORG WARNER CORPORATION, by its Successor-In-Interest, Borg Warner Morse TEC Inc..
- BW/IP INTERNATIONAL CO., formerly known as Borg Warner Industrial Products Inc., a former subsidiary of and successor to Borg Warner Corp., Byron Jackson Pumps and United Pumps & Compressors
- CHRYSLER LLC, formerly known as DAIMLER CHRYSLER
- COLFAX CORPORATION (Individually and as Successor to WARNER ELECTRIC BRAKE & CLUTCH COMPANY)
- DANA Corp.
- EATON CORPORATION, Individually and now known as Eaton Electrical, Inc. and As Successor to The Vickers Pump Company
- FISHER AUTO PARTS, INC.
- FORD MOTOR COMPANY
- FOREST CITY AUTO PARTS COMPANY, INC.
- G & T AUTO PARTS OF MID ORANGE, INC.
- GENERAL MOTORS CORPORATION
- GENUINE PARTS COMPANY
- GOODRICH CORPORATION f/k/a The B.F. Goodrich Company, Individually and as Successor in Interest to The Cleveland Pneumatic Company, a Division of the Pneumo Abex Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Abex, Inc
- HAYES BRAKE, LLC
- HONEYWELL INTERNATIONAL, INC. (f/k/a Alliedsignal, Inc., and as Successor-in-interest to the Bendix Corp.)
- INTERNATIONAL HARVESTER
- I N M ENTERPRISES INC., d/b/a NATIONWIDE SAFETY BRAKES
- KELSEY HAYES
- LINCOLN MOTORS
- LIPE ROLLWAY
- MACK TRUCKS, INC.
- MAREMONT CORPORATION (Individually and as Successor to Grizzly)
- NAPA (NATIONAL AUTOMOTIVE PARTS ASSOCIATION)
- NEW YORK AIR BRAKE CORPORATION
- NEXEN GROUP, INCORPORATED (Individually and as Successor-in-Interest to HORTON CLUTCHES AND BRAKES MANUFACTURING, INC.)
- PEP BOYS MANNY, MOE & JACK OF DELAWARE, INC.
- PNEUMO ABEX LLC as successor to ABEX CORPORATION
- QUALITY BRAKE AND CHASSIS DISTRIBUTORS
- SEARS, ROEBUCK AND COMPANY
- STANDARD MOTOR PRODUCTS, INC.
- THE GOODYEAR TIRE AND RUBBER CORPORATION
- THIKOL CORPORATION
- VOLKSWAGEN AG
- VOLVO TRUCKS NORTH AMERICA, INC.
- WALKER MANUFACTURING COMPANY
- WARNER ELECTRIC BRAKE & CLUTCH COMPANY
- WESTERN AUTO SUPPLY COMPANY also known as ADAVANCED AUTO PARTS
Mesothelioma and asbestos-related diseases do not become evident at the moment of exposure. Typically, there is a latency period of approximately ten to fifty years between initial exposure to asbestos and the development of mesothelioma. For individuals who performed brake work (or were surrounded by those who did) from the 1930s to the 1990s, cases of mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis are just beginning to surface.
The attorneys at Lipsitz & Ponterio, LLC have gathered a vast amount of information regarding the type and variety of asbestos-containing products to which our clients were exposed. Our clients understand the importance of securing legal representation as soon as possible after a diagnosis of mesothelioma or lung cancer. If you or a loved one were once employed as an auto or brake mechanic and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or an asbestos-related disease, we urge you to contact us regarding your legal rights.