Asbestos in Brakes
Up until a few years ago asbestos was the material of choice for brake and clutch linings.
However, asbestos is being phased out because of the health risks caused by the dust and a complete ban on asbestos based products was put in place at the end of 2003. This ban applies to OEM and aftermarket replacement parts.
Most vehicle manufacturers replaced asbestos in brakes and clutches with other compounds a number of years ago and you will probably recall the problems they had in striking the balance between brake performance and component life.
An early implementation by one major manufacturer required new rotors each time the pads were replaced while another major manufacturer had to replace rotors under warranty because of glazing that caused brake shuddering within 10,000 km.
The lack of asbestos in brakes and clutches doesn’t mean that you can get complacent though. All friction materials still contain fibres and all fibres are potentially hazardous. These fibres are present in the dust produced by brakes and clutches [asbestos or otherwise] and you will be exposed to this dust when doing any work on or inspecting brake or clutch assemblies.
So for us with older bikes may want to take extra care when working on brakes especially drum bakes…………..Wish i had known this a few months back when I cleaned the rear drum on the XS and took at it with a wire brush and a rag………Guess if I get lung cancer in a few years i will know why!!