Brian Turner recently contacted me through my blog requesting if he could pass along some very important info to all of us automotive enthusiasts in regards to harmful toxins found in various car parts. I personally have always been aware of all the hazards of dealing with paints, brake pads, oils, and etc, but his article really puts some things into perspective. I encourage you all to give the following a read so that next time you go to work on your ride you think twice about some of the hazards!
Cars are a part of everyday life, used for commuting, running errands and traveling. While most people know about the obvious dangers of emissions, they are unaware of even more substances lurking within the car itself. The following outlines the most common hidden toxins in automobiles.
Asbestos is a mineral that is heat and fire resistant. In the early 20th century, it was commonly used in a large number of auto parts, including gaskets, brake assemblies, seals, clutches, valve rings and the hood lining. While asbestos is found more often in older cars, it can also show up in newer models. These materials can still be used from other parts of the world like the Middle East, and need to take extra safety precautions.
Studies have shown a clear link between exposure to asbestos fibers and certain cancers, such as mesothelioma. The disease can take many decades to develop and it often has a poor prognosis by the time it is discovered.
When a car is closed up and the interior temperature rises, compounds known as aromatic hydrocarbons can build up. This can contribute to a worsening of allergy symptoms and cause other health problems as well.
Opening windows to allow adequate ventilation will reduce or eliminate this problem.
Polybrominated biphenyls (PBDEs) are chemicals, which have no ability to bond to other material. This causes them to turn into toxic vapors when released into the air. Phthalate esters, which are an equivalent to polybrominated biphenyls, are used in auto plastics to make them more flexible and long lasting. These are usually found in car interiors.
Exposure to these chemicals for an extended time may lead to birth defects, premature babies, problems with the liver and kidneys, and lung disease.
End of Life Issues:
When an automobile reaches the end of its useful life, it often ends up in a junkyard. A scrapped car can hurt the environment by leeching oil, battery acid and other toxins into the ground and air around it. This can be harmful to the water supply and anyone who comes into contact with the car.
Car toxins are a big but often invisible problem. People should be aware of the health hazards and how to avoid them, if possible.
-Brian Turner, fellow car enthusiast and blogger.