Ontario aims to ban brake pads made with asbestos
By Mark Atkinson for MSN Autos
A Guelph-area MPP is aiming to make Ontario the first province in Canada to ban the use of asbestos-based brake pads. If you figured that the cancer-causing material was long gone from Canadian parts stores, you're not alone... a number of mechanics interviewed by the CBC thought they already had nothing to worry about.
While pads made in Canada and the United States are not allowed to contain the dangerous material, the risk comes from an admittedly small percentage of pads imported from other countries. The federal government doesn't require border staff to inspect pads for asbestos when they come into Canada, and StatsCan figures around $2.6 million worth - or about nine per cent of the market - were sold last year.
Before we figured out just how bad asbestos is for humans, asbestos was an easy choice for inclusion in brake pads thanks to its good resistance to heat and chemical damage. However, mechanics who work anywhere near the wheel-wells would get lung-fulls of asbestos dust, which over time causes extreme grief from mesothelioma and other forms of cancer.
So what do you think: should Ontario move ahead with the ban? Do you think other provinces should get involved too? Have you been exposed to asbestos brake pads in your work - or other sources?