Auto brake mechanics die so your car can stop quicker cheaper

Continuing the discussion from Defensive gun ownership is a farce:

Well, that has happened, so we know the answer. We know the outcome, too, and you’re not going to like it at all. (but see postscript!**)

Auto mechanics are a high risk group for malignant mesothelioma. The auto industry has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to keep you from finding out that you are killing your mechanic by having him work on your brakes, and to overturn or prevent effective legislation of the asbestos in brakes and clutches.

In 1989 the EPA passed the Asbestos Ban and Phase Out Rule, which halfheartedly attempted to minimize the damage to corporate profits involved in controlling occupational mesothelioma. The rule was subsequently overturned in the case of Corrosion Proof Fittings v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1991. This nightmarish, Reagan era ruling began the modern tradition of requiring absurd, unattainable levels of evidence before permitting clearly dangerous products or practices to be legally controlled (tobacconists and polluters, do your happy dance).

If you care about people who live next to roads, if you care about your mechanic, you should go out of your way to use only non-asbestos brake linings and clutch plates.

But most people don’t know about that, so they buy the cheaper parts, and thus reward the giant industries that will cheerfully kill their own workmen and customers for quarterly profits.

(Topic was forked from Defensive gun ownership is a farce)

**Postcript: I originally built this post based on a collection of links to websites and research papers that I found while googling brake dust mesothelioma. I started by searching for a paper that I read many years ago that strongly correlated one’s chance of contracting mesothelioma with how close one lived to an old and busy intersection, where brake dust is found in layers. I never found that paper, but I found lots of other data, and I built the text around those links. Unfortunately I somehow mangled the post, putting @funruly’s links in place of my own (I’m going to blame the forum software but it was probably my own fault) and I’ve lost the original links. So now they are less pertinent to the linking text :frowning: But, to quote Dr. Farnsworth, GOOD NEWS EVERYONE! In my second round of googling I see that significant progress has been made towards legally recognizing the undeniable link between brake dust exposure and mesothelioma. We’re still not going to stop killing people with it, but at least their heirs are more likely to receive a pittance from the companies that are profiteering from these deaths.


Reminds me of a documentary on Cuba car culture that showed a gentleman who makes asbestos brake pads in his garage. He said that he knows that it will eventually kill him, but he can make a very lucrative living doing something that he enjoys.

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Thanks for the considered reply. I appreciate the lesson on asbestos in brakes, I wasn’t aware of that story. Though I do admit a few points have me baffled.

Firstly, I’m not sure I grasp the point of re-using the URLS I provided. Health professionals are a high risk for gun deaths? Maybe I’m obtuse, but the mixing of metaphors has mixed me up.

Secondly, what take-home are you trying to impart?

  • Asbestos in brakes saves more lives than mechanics who get mesothelioma, and liberal policies for good gun owners similarly serves the greater good.

  • There’s no point in paying attention to public health research because moneyed interests (Auto parts, NRA) will always get their way.

Sounds like informed consent, I guess, on his part. Unfortunately, he’s building cancer for other people too. This is part of the whole environmental inequality issue that people don’t want to talk about - the poorer you are, the closer you live to the road, so the higher the chances that your children will die of mesothelioma from brake and clutch dust. The poor are disproportionately exposed to all sorts of potentially lethal corporate effluvia, but the people who make the laws are the winners of a lifelong contest to see who is the most greedy, shortsighted and amoral.


You’re prediction was correct, I don’t like that outcome.

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Woops, I must have mangled the URLs! Thanks for pointing it out, I will fix ASAP.

The take-home is that in post-Reagan USA, corporate profits trump human safety - regardless of whether they are profits for Raven Arms, Jennings Firearms, Phoenix Arms, Lorcin Engineering Company, Davis Industries, Arcadia Machine & Tool, and Sundance Industries, or profits for Johns-Manville and Bendix.

I guess what motivated me is this idea I have that the gun debate is only special because of the hysteria of the extreme anti-gun people and the belligerence of the extreme pro-gun people. I believe we have hundreds of issues that are at least as important, where the same pattern of placing corporations above community is repeated without the average person even noticing, much less caring.

I think we need more than just a resolution to gun control, I think we need to go back to a pre-Reagan, post-WW2 government style. The kind of government where people can make change, like the 1960s Civil Rights movement did.


I share this worry.

For me, part of what makes any gun debate special is the Constitutional issues.

Though it would be fair to speculate that the Constitutional aspect of it contributes to extreme views on both sides.


European Commission Directive 98/12/EC banned asbestos in car brakes in 1999, so the EU should have asbestos-free brakes. The US is a bit of an outlier here?


Keep in mind the US banned it, and then reversed the ban - thanks to the Merchants of Doubt.

But see the postscript I added to the original post when I was trying to fix the links - it looks like things are changing in the US, because several state courts have reversed earlier decisions, perhaps in response to mesothelioma continuing to increase worldwide. See this for example.


One of Canada’s lasting modern shames is providing asbestos to other countries that use it willy-nilly themselves and also produce brake pads and other exempted products for export back to North America and any other market that hasn’t banned them.

The current govt was until recently an open advocate of continued mining of asbestos in Canada for export & like the US has many exempted products containing asbestos sold with no warning to the public. Harper & company continue to this day to say it is safe.


Isn’t it a good thing that corporations can’t sue governments for impairing their ability to make profit by passing dastardly socialist health and safety laws. Oh, wait

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Wow. Now I’ve learned this disease has taken Steve McQueen and Warren Zevon. fuck that.

thanks updating the links for the educational tangent, @Medievalist.


Shit, McQueen probably was doomed from the moment he pulled up behind that black Charger.


Oh my god you are right. Thank god they didn’t cast a black Cougar, we’d have lost him sooner.

Hardy har har. Nah, my Cougar is both slower and cleaner. No asbestos dust on my brake pads, the rear shoes are encased in drums, and with an automatic tranny I have no clutch disc. But Lt. Bullitt would have caught my Cougar long before they got to the green VW Bug.

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the first or the second?

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I count two separate takes, using… shit, I dunno, all the angles. They even use the takes where the camera gets clobbered.

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1:27 Charger first passes Bug at 4-way stop, headed downhill
1:37 Mustang first passes Bug at 4-way stop, headed downhill

1:56 Charger passes Bug whilst catching air
1:99 Mustang catches air as Bug exits stage left

2:06 Charger passes Bug going downhill
2:09 Mustang passes Bug going downhill

ps - I really covet that pedant’s pendant


Ha! Made ya watch!

If this movie were ever remade, I’d end the chase with that same green Bug gassing up at the filling station at the end.

In a time before goatse
long before rickroll
it was Hollywood
who knew how to troll