Those who have worked in small garages in the past may have been exposed to asbestos. It was the norm for car mechanics to replace the brake pads and clutches on vehicles in the 1960s and 1970s. What mechanics may not have known is that, from 1902, the brake drums, clutch housings and gaskets often contained asbestos. Asbestos was used as friction material and heat resistance. It was used as a ‘wonder product’ at the time and only now the full horrors of exposure are becoming clear.

The type of asbestos used was Chrysotile (which was white in colour). Chrysotile and all types of asbestos were banned in 1985. The ban, as well as the introduction of front wheel drive in the 1980s, meant that car manufacturers were forced to develop an alternative to asbestos. Cars manufactured in the UK from 2000 do not contain asbestos but “classic cars” could still contain asbestos.

Exposure to the asbestos came about when a mechanic stripped down or repaired the brakes, which would have had an accumulation of asbestos dust within them.

Over time, asbestos dust accumulates within the brake housing and when the mechanic strips down or repairs the brakes, they are inadvertently disturbing and releasing the minute asbestos fibres into the atmosphere. Mechanics often used an airline hose to blow the dust out and also sanded down the brake linings. Both activities would have released the minute asbestos fibres into the air which they could have both breathed in and got on their clothes.

The amount of asbestos found in vehicles was overall quite low but could still pose a potential risk if mechanics were regularly and consistently exposed to asbestos. Asbestos dust can lie around on surfaces dormant or hang in the air for a prolonged period. Mechanics may also have taken the dust home on their work clothes and exposed family members.

There are no safe levels of exposure to asbestos.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding possible exposure to asbestos in the past or if you have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease please get in touch. Having independent, expert advice from a specialist solicitor can make all the difference when seeking to trace those responsible for exposing workers to asbestos. Thompsons was responsible for winning the first-ever successful asbestos disease litigation case in 1972 – helping to pave the way for those exposed and their families to secure redress and compensation ever since.

If you’d like free, no obligation advice please contact Louise Larkin of Thompsons Solicitors on 0151 224 1644 or by email louiselarkin@thompsons.law.co.uk.

Louise lives and works in Liverpool and has dealt with asbestos-related claims on behalf of the victims and their families for over 25 years. Louise and a team of expert colleagues are relentless in their pursuit of compensation claims against employers and insurance companies for clients who suffer from mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, asbestosis and pleural thickening securing millions of pounds in compensation on their behalf every year.

If you choose to work with us, Thompsons Solicitors will support you through every step of your asbestos compensation claim, providing expert legal advice as well as access to a network of support services and medical professionals.