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Is mesothelioma risk for brake mechanics higher than we thought?

In a recent post, we discussed the fact that there are people in certain occupations who are at a higher risk of being exposed to asbestos on the job. One of the occupations we listed in that post, which can be read in full here, is automotive mechanics.

Unfortunately, the risk for that group of workers -- specifically brake mechanics -- may actually be higher than was previously reported. This is according to recent allegations made by researchers from Brown and Harvard Universities.

According to the researchers' statement, a report was published in 2007 that said the risks of brake mechanics developing mesothelioma were "extremely low." However, they believe that the data was flawed, making that study unreliable. 

The allegations stem from concerns over how the participants in the 2007 study were categorized, which they say was biased. When they re-categorized the participants in a more recent study, the evidence apparently shows that there is a very clear risk of mesothelioma for brake mechanics.

Further, it was argued that the 2007 study was commissioned by three auto-manufacturing companies, spurring accusations the data was manipulated.

The fact that brake mechanics could be at a higher risk of developing mesothelioma than some studies show is certainly troubling. It could mean that the health hazards in the industry have been downplayed for several years, leaving even more workers vulnerable to toxic asbestos exposure.

If you are a brake mechanic and concerned about possible exposure to asbestos, it can be critical that you talk to a doctor and assess your health. You can also speak with an attorney regarding the availability of workers' compensation to help you cover medical expenses and time away from work.

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