Asbestos Fibres in the Lungs of an American Mechanic Who Drilled, Riveted, and Ground Brake Linings: A Case Report and Discussion
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In North America and Europe, the use of asbestos in friction products was discontinued before the end of the 20th century. In the developing world, the use of asbestos-containing friction products continues. In 2010, Cely-Garcia and colleagues (Cely-Garcia et al., 2012) sampled three brake repair shops located in Bogota, Colombia. Both asbestos and non-asbestos containing brake linings were sold separately or attached to a shoe. When brake linings are sold separated from the shoe, they must be manipulated to attach them to the shoe before installation. The process starts with the removal of the old brake shoe from the vehicle's brake drum. If the existing brake shoe is to be reused, the old lining needs to be removed and the old shoe must be ground to prepare it for a new lining. Riveting requires drilling holes in the linings and shoes and before installing rivets, the lining must be countersunk. The borders of the lining are bevelled. On some occasions, the entire exposed surface of the lining is ground to make it thinner. Once attached to the shoe, the edges of brake linings may extend beyond the shoe. In this case, it is necessary to cut or grind the edges to match the lining to the shoe before bevelling or grinding. The authors reported that 'the sampling results indicate that the brake mechanics sampled are exposed to extremely high asbestos concentrations (i.e. based on transmission electron microscopy counts), suggesting that this occupational group could be at excess risk of asbestos-related diseases'.
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