Mechanic Claims Occupational Asbestos Exposure

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Mechanic Claims Diagnosis Caused by Asbestos Exposure

Ford Motor Company has faced several accusations of exposing workers to asbestos leading to the development of mesothelioma and similar conditions. Auto mechanics face risks as many products in the automotive industry were made with asbestos.

William Trokey, 76, worked on “drum brakes” from 1960 to 1968 for the Ford Motor Company and was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2020. He has since filed a lawsuit against Ford Motor Company and claims that automotive brakes exposed him to asbestos for years, leading to the development of mesothelioma. However, Ford maintains that the link between possible exposure and Trokey’s diagnosis was too limited.

What is Ford Motor’s Response?

Although Ford expressed its sympathy, the company set to defend itself. Ford’s attorney responded to claims by arguing that Trokey worked for several companies and came in contact with a variety of products. Additionally, they argue that Trokey was only a part-time, non-career mechanic and his level of exposure to Ford brakes was not enough to cause mesothelioma. She refers to epidemiologist studies that prove that long-time mechanics are not at high risk for mesothelioma, let alone workers who are just part-time. Finally, the council argues that Trokey could have experienced asbestos exposure through his work with printing and lithography which he originally disclosed to doctors, but did not mention after filing.

What’s Next in this Asbestos Exposure Legal Case?

After the two-week trial was complete, the St. Louis jury ordered Ford to pay $10 million to Trokey and $10 million in punitive damages to his wife. However, Ford has expressed its sympathies and respects the jury’s decision but the company plans to appeal.

Asbestos Trust Funds for Automotive Workers

Many companies, such as Ford, constantly face lawsuits over negligently exposing workers to asbestos. After facing many lawsuits, some companies established asbestos trust funds. Eligible patients can file an asbestos trust fund claim to receive proper compensation. Compensation from a claim can help patients and their loved ones pay for treatment, cover lost wages, travel costs, and funeral expenses. If you or a loved one are a victim of negligent asbestos exposure, you may qualify for legal compensation. Mesothelioma Hub can provide expert legal assistance in your automotive case.

How Are Auto Mechanics Exposed to Asbestos?

Asbestos, a toxic mineral, was used in many products in the automotive industry. Products such as brakes, clutches, and many other components contained asbestos. Many manufacturers of auto parts utilized asbestos as it was affordable and heat resistant.  Exposure to asbestos leads to several conditions, such as mesothelioma, asbestosis, and other cancers.

Were Automotive Brakes Developed with Asbestos?

From the 1930s to the 1980s, chrysotile asbestos was used in the braking system of cars. Additionally, every motion device needed braking power, and many companies utilized asbestos brake pads. In fact, a nanogram of brake dust can contain around 90,000 fibers of asbestos. Asbestos brake shoes were also active for many things such as aircraft, railroad locomotives, and heavy equipment.

In 1973, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported that brake linings contained 33 – 73% asbestos by weight. This period was at the height of asbestos use in the US. Most domestic manufacturers do not utilize asbestos in their products however, working on older cars does entail some risks to asbestos exposure. Brake parts fall apart over time and release internal asbestos fibers. The fibers can linger for several days after and stick to clothes, hair, and skin.

Automotive Mechanics and Asbestos-Related Diseases

When asbestos products are being worked on, the airborne particles are released. These fibers can lead to severe diseases and other health effects. Asbestos can be found in several components of automotive vehicles such as:

  • Clutches
  • Brakes
  • Gaskets
  • Body parts
  • Hood liners
  • Insulation
  • Heat seals
  • Mufflers
  • Valve rings
  • Automobile hoses
  • Engine components

Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a deadly cancer caused by exposure to airborne asbestos particles. Asbestos particles can be found in automotive brake pads. When a mechanic works on brake pads, these asbestos particles can be released into the air. The fibers can stay in the atmosphere for long periods and can even attach to clothing items and hair. There are three types of mesothelioma cells: epithelioid, sarcomatoid, and biphasic. These cells types can conclude a patient’s prognosis, treatment plan, and medical center.

Asbestosis

Asbestosis is a lung condition caused by exposure to asbestos. People at risk for asbestosis include mechanics and construction workers. Automobile mechanics are exposed to asbestos typically through brake pads and clutches where the airborne particles enter the lungs. The fibers gradually damage a patient’s lungs over time and cause serious damage. There is no cure for asbestosis, but there are a few treatments that may help.

Lung Cancer

Lung cancer can develop when chemicals or asbestos fibers are inhaled. Construction workers and auto mechanics are two professions where exposure is high. When mechanics work on asbestos-related products, they inhale asbestos fibers where they enter the lungs. These particles develop over time to cause lung cancer.

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