Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Guest Post: Protecting Yourself from Dangerous Materials in Classic Cars

A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by Brian Turner regarding the harmful materials that exist in classic cars and getting the word out that there are real dangers to look out for when handling them.

The following article was written by Brian for the benefit of the classic car community. Please take a few moments to read this and check out the infographics as I feel that this information is something that everyone should know.


Protecting Yourself from Dangerous Materials in Classic Cars

When rebuilding classic cars, in addition to the problems of sourcing out of production parts, and wrestling with corroded bolts, mechanics need to be aware of materials that could be hazardous to their health. Asbestos was used indiscriminately throughout the American auto industry's heydays from the 1940's into the 1990's. Today we know that this man-made, fibrous compound is carcinogenic. But in the 50's, 60's and 70's, asbestos was praised, and widely used in brake pads and clutch plates. The fibrous, lightweight and durable material is highly heat resistant, cheap and lightweight. Its mild abrasive characteristics made it the perfect material to embed in other fibrous materials to extend the lifetime of these disposable parts.

From Z

working on classic cars and changing out the brakes or clutch mechanisms, mechanics and car enthusiasts should protect themselves from this material. In its undisturbed form, asbestos doesn't post a threat. However, if the dust which is produced by brake and clutch pad normal use becomes airborne and inhaled, the fibers can metastasize into the lethal lung cancer Mesothelioma.

Many adverse effects associated with
asbestos exposure have been well documented. Studies of exposed workers, and family contacts of works, even those living in close proximity to asbestos mines have all demonstrated a higher risk to Mesothelioma. Therefore, when working on these parts, owners should take industry-approved precautions to protect themselves.

From Z

When working with brakes or
clutch plates, wear full, disposable coveralls, and protect exposed skin on your hands and neck. Workers should wear OSHA approved respirators at all times, and make sure they have the proper cartridge to protect from airborne fibers. When disassembling the mechanisms, they should wipe the assembly down a damp cloth before they start, and then wipe down each part as it's removed from the vehicle. Parts manufactured with asbestos should be disposed of properly in a closed container, labeled as a biohazard. After the affected parts are removed, spray the assembly and parts down with an appropriate degreaser or cleaning agent, and then once again wipe the parts down with a damp cloth. Allow them to dry before using.

Once the job is complete, dispose of the paper coveralls, and immediately wash any clothing, gloves, hats or safety gear you were wearing. Your goal is to eliminate the possibility that you, or anyone you contact during the process breathe in any asbestos fibers. Although the following products do not produce as much asbestos dust, you should take similar precautions when removing old head and engine hood liners, gaskets, and valve packing. These materials were also manufactured with race amounts of asbestos during the years in question.

Finally, you should also protect your lungs when sanding any old paint, or rusty metal surfaces. Inhaling oxidized metal or lead paint dust can also lead to serious health problems. Protect your exposed skin, wear a respirator and work in a well-ventilated, environmentally controlled workshop when dealing with any of these products.



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