Dr. Lemen is retired Assistant Surgeon General, USPHS and retired Deputy Director and Acting Director, NIOSH and has testified as a plaintiff's expert in brake exposure cases.
Asbestos in brakes: Exposure and risk of disease†
Article first published online: 23 FEB 2004
Copyright © 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
American Journal of Industrial Medicine
Volume 45, Issue 3, pages 229–237, March 2004
How to Cite
Lemen, R. A. (2004), Asbestos in brakes: Exposure and risk of disease. Am. J. Ind. Med., 45: 229–237. doi: 10.1002/ajim.10334
- Issue published online: 23 FEB 2004
- Article first published online: 23 FEB 2004
- Manuscript Accepted: 31 OCT 2003
- friction products;
- short asbestos fibers;
Asbestos has been incorporated into friction products since the early 1900s. Epidemiological studies have been equivocal in their analysis of the incidence of disease among mechanics servicing brakes. Decomposition of asbestos occurs during the normal usage of the brake due to thermal decomposition into forsterite, although not all asbestos is so converted. Short fibers, below 5 μm in length, are also found in brake products. Several facts are discussed including the toxicity of the remaining asbestos fibers, short asbestos fibers, and the health implications of exposure to forsterite. Control methodologies, when used appropriately, have reduced exposure to asbestos during brake servicing, but have not been able to entirely eliminate exposure to asbestos, thus bring into question the controlled use of asbestos for friction product such as brakes. Even the so called “controlled” use of asbestos containing brakes poses a health risk to workers, users, and their families. Am. J. Ind. Med. 45:229–237, 2004. © 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.