Today we get a breath of fresh air (so to speak) from our first ever guest poster, SGE follower Brian Turner. Brian contacted me about sharing his message here, as this is the perfect venue to reach his target audience. I agree. This is definitely pertinent information for us knuckledraggers who spend our days dismembering crusty old tin in less than ideal conditions (like wrecking yards, gravel driveways and ramshackle garages).
So, tell us a bit about yourself, Brian.
My interests are all types of cars like classics, tuner, muscle, import, supercars, etc. I like to research and write about the inherent toxic hazards in automobiles. I have recently been accepted as a staff contributor to the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance Blog where I post about the cancer risks that toxins such as asbestos pose. You can check it out here: http://www.mesothelioma.com/blog/authors/brian/comprehensive-asbestos-exposure-infographic-now-available.htm.
Jeeze, thanks for looking out for us, Brian! It takes a special kind of gearhead to do this work. This is stuff most of us would rather not think about while happily wrenching away. Let this be a heads-up to us all. I kicked in some ambiance photos. The rest is all Brian. Without any further ado...
Did You Know About Hidden Dangers Present In Classic Cars?
New information has come out in the last few years about hidden dangers associated with restoring classic cars. One of the most common overlooked hazards in classic cars is asbestos. It can be found in classic car hood liners, brake pads, valves, clutch assemblies, gaskets and valve stem packing. Exposure to asbestos has been found to be very harmful when particles are inhaled over a period of time. You may feel the effects of exposure right away and then feel better, only to have a serious condition called mesothelioma (a form of cancer) turn up in your system up to 20 years later. This is a hard to treat form of cancer that can be fatal. It is better to take precautions now and avoid the chance of getting this debilitating disease later in life.
Older muscle cars and classic cars can have a large build up of dirt and grease around engines, axles, transmissions and drive shafts that contain other toxic chemicals. One of these is phenal, which is dangerous to both skin and the nervous system. When cleaning these car parts, use gloves and wear a mask. Phenal can have a fatal affect on your nervous system. There may be other toxins lodged in the build up of oil and dirt, so don't take chances. Also, many of the chemicals used to clean car parts have toxins in them if inhaled or exposed to bare skin.
Be aware of a chemical called bromine that was used in many classic car seats, seat belts and some dashboard parts among other things. Ingesting or inhaling this chemical can cause memory loss, fertility issues, learning disabilities and behavioral problems. These affects can be passed on to children as well as the original person exposed to them.
Another toxic material to be found in classic cars is lead. Lead can be found in all soldered parts, paint, electrical parts, batteries and radiators. Red and yellow paints are known to contain lead chromate and cadmium, which when inhaled can cause a serious lung irritation. Special precautions should be taken to avoid any form of lead.
This does not mean everyone should give up this rewarding hobby. It does mean that certain precautions should be taken while working on the cars to protect the person doing the work from serious diseases like mesothelioma and exposure to toxic chemicals like solvents, bromine, lead and phenal. It is a good idea to wear protective equipment when working on classic cars.
Thanks again Brian, for this most important reminder. Mesothelioma has indirectly affected my life and it ain't pretty. Let's be careful out there, kids!