EPA Issues Guidance to Reduce Auto Mechanic Exposure to Asbestos

One month after OSHA released its asbestos information bulletin, EPA is following suit by releasing a draft brochure aimed to protect the health of auto mechanics.

The brochure, Current Best Practices for Preventing Asbestos Exposure Among Brake and Clutch Repair Workers, includes work practices that may be used to avoid asbestos exposure. It also summarizes existing OSHA regulatory requirements for professional automotive mechanics.

When finalized, the brochure will supersede the existing Guidance for Preventing Asbestos Disease Among Auto Mechanics, known as the "Gold Book."

Asbestos is the common name given to a number of naturally occurring mineral fibers that have been used in manufactured goods due to their high tensile strength, resistance to heat and chemical stability. Because of these properties, asbestos fibers have been used in a number of products, including automobile clutch and brake parts.

Exposure to asbestos is potentially harmful to human health if microscopic asbestos fibers, released into the air when asbestos is disturbed or in poor condition, are inhaled into the lungs. Asbestos exposure has been associated with a number of serious health problems and diseases, including asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.

The agency, which announced the availability of the brochure in today's Federal Register, is providing the public 60 days to comment on the draft brochure.

The draft brochure can be accessed on EPA's Web site.

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