Transmission Plates

Asbestos in Transmission Plates and Other Automotive Products

Transmission plates are more accurately known as "clutch plates." These are the friction products that when engaged, allow the rotational motion of the engine to be transferred to the drive shaft and ultimately, the wheels.

Asbestos has been a common part of automotive construction and repair almost since the beginning of the automotive industry. Because of the high amounts of heat generated by brakes, engines and transmissions, the use of asbestos was seen as necessary to protect both the operator and the equipment from fire and high heat.

Automotive workers should be cautious about working around transmissions, clutch plates and brakes; owners of auto repair facilities are now required, under most state labor laws, to provide appropriate safety equipment for servicing these components in automobiles.

Transmission Plates Containing Asbestos

The following partial list of transmission plates were known to contain asbestos:

Product Name Start Year End Year
Raymark Automatic Transmission Plates

Hazards Associated with Transmission Plate Products

Not surprisingly, auto mechanics and even auto assembly workers have historically experienced elevated rates of asbestos diseases such as asbestosis, mesothelioma and asbestos lung cancer. As late as the early 1990s, asbestos was found in components on vehicles built by the Ford Motor Company. As recently as the turn of the present century, large amounts of asbestos fiber was present in dust samples taken from auto repair facilities across the country.

Sources

Bowker, Michael. Fatal Deception: The Untold Story of Asbestos (New York: Touchstone, 2003)

Schneider, Andrew and Carol Smith. "Nation's Mechanics At Risk From Asbestos." Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 16 November 2000.

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