Auto Recyclers Call To Eliminate Asbestos Brake Pads




The Automotive Recyclers of Canada (ARC) is adding its support to a call for federal policies to effectively eliminate the import and use of asbestos in Canada due to the health risks associated with recycling end-of-life vehicles (ELV) with asbestos-containing parts.

According to ARC, every year approximately 1.6 million vehicles reach their end-of-life in Canada. These vehicles require proper end-of-life management including “depollution,” dismantling for parts salvage and metals recycling. Amongst materials such as fuels, oils, mercury switches and air conditioning refrigerants (such as chlorofluorocarbons and hydrochlorofluorocarbons) automotive recyclers must also contend with brake pads that may contain asbestos.

While vehicle manufacturers do not install asbestos brake pads, aftermarket brake pads are one of the largest categories of asbestos containing products imported into Canada. More than $100-million in asbestos brake pads and linings were imported into Canada between 2005 and 2015. Imports of asbestos containing brake pads into Canada continue to increase unabated.

On April 5, 2016 the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change promulgated regulations requiring automotive recyclers to recycle ELV to set environmental standards. These standards include the removal of asbestos brake pads prior to compaction of vehicle hulks in preparation for shipment to metals recyclers.

Steve Fletcher, Managing Director of the Automotive Recyclers of Canada noted, “For an auto recycler there is no way to know whether a brake pad contains asbestos or not. In Ontario, every pad will need to be removed and where the recycler encounters an asbestos brake pad there is inevitably going to be some release of asbestos particulate into the air. This is an unacceptable and wholly unnecessary risk. Asbestos brake pads should simply not exist in Canada. We are calling for the federal Ministers of Health and Environment and Climate Change to act now.”

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