Canadian automobile technicians say Canada’s ban on asbestos, which went into effect Dec. 31, 2018, is a welcome change.
“It’s long overdue and it’s quite remarkable how long, politically, it took to make it happen,” said Rick Jamieson, Guelph, Ontario-based president of brake pad manufacturer ABS Friction. “It’s a lot like smoking. People deny the real effects of it until the evidence is overwhelming.”
Asbestos is a durable, fire-resistant mineral that was used in a variety of products from insulation to flooring tiles. In the automotive industry, asbestos was most often used in brake pads. ABS Friction products have never contained asbestos, Jamieson said.
Many automotive companies have phased out asbestos over the years since its use was restricted in the 1980s. It had been known for decades by then that asbestos exposure can lead to serious diseases like the incurable lung disease asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer that develops in the lining of internal organs like the lungs and abdomen. It can take up to 50 years for asbestos-related diseases to develop. Once diagnosed, the disease generally proves fatal within a year or two.
Under the new ban in Canada, any product containing asbestos installed on a vehicle up to Dec. 30, 2018, is legal and can remain. But after that date, any products containing asbestos are illegal.
“At the end of the day, exposure to products that contain asbestos is a health risk to technicians,” said Jean-Francois Champagne, president of the Automotive Industries Association of Canada. “So it makes total sense for us to support the regulations and the ban of asbestos.”
Asbestos is still used in the United States, though not as widely as it was before the 1980s.
Source: Automotive Service World