The automotive industry was once a primary source of asbestos in this country. Vehicles manufactured since 1970 don’t have asbestos in the components, but any that were made prior to them may contain this hazardous substance.
This means that classic car collectors and those who work on those vehicles might come into contact with asbestos even today, even as those who worked in factories back in the old days may just now be developing problems from their asbestos exposure.
How did the automotive industry move away from asbestos for components?
The automotive industry began to use other materials when the dangers of asbestos became evident. It uses items like cellulose fibers, fiberglass, thermoset plastic and plastic flours, amorphous silica fibers, and polyurethane foam. These have properties that make them good replacements for various items in the industry.
What should people involved with classic cars do?
It’s a good idea to leave components alone in the older cars that might contain asbestos. Sometimes, they have to be changed out. Wearing proper protective equipment is imperative in these situations. This means using something like a rebreather or another highly effective filter, but you also need to protect your clothing because the fibers can fly off the clothing and affect you, as well as those around you. Anyone who breathes them in is at risk of suffering from an asbestos-related condition.
Regardless of how careful someone is, there is a chance that working with asbestos will cause health conditions to manifest. These might not happen right away, so you should always be vigilant to watch for signs that something is amiss once you realize you came into contact with the harmful mineral.