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The largest automobile exporter in China issued a recall of some 42,000 vehicles across the world because some of the parts were manufactured with asbestos.
The cancer-causing compound has been banned in a number of countries where the vehicles were sold, including Australia. Historically, brake pads and other car parts were manufactured using asbestos because of its heat-resistant properties. Mesothelioma lawyers know that while no such ban exists in the U.S., asbestos has not been commonly used in manufacturing here since the 1970s.
The company had initially recalled some 23,000 vehicles in Australia and about 19,000 vehicles in other countries. Authorities say that it was Australian customs officials who detected the asbestos in both the exhaust gaskets and the engine.
The reason this is so concerning for Americans is that it highlights the lax controls that Chinese manufacturers have with regard to asbestos products. Further, such parts would not be illegal here anyway, as asbestos was never formally banned in the U.S. This is especially troubling considering that when looking solely at vehicle exports, we’ve seen a 50 percent rise in the last 12 months alone.
This particular company, Chery International, sold more than 160,000 vehicles overseas over the last year, which was a nearly 75 percent increase over the previous year. In just the first half of this year, the company sold nearly 95,000 vehicles.
The Chinese automakers blamed the ordeal on one of their suppliers, whom they declined to identify. A representative said that the parts they were given “mistakenly” contained asbestos.
The spokesman said that Chery will continue to issue recalls that will fall in line with the laws and regulations of the countries where they are selling. But the bottom line is: Asbestos should not be used in consumer products – particularly in vehicles, where the fibers are highly likely to be disturbed, and where motorists are held captive.
Mesothelioma, an aggressive form of cancer, is directly caused by exposure to asbestos, which is most dangerous when the fibers become airborne and are inhaled.
And here’s the most upsetting fact: This is a company that remains aware of the damage that asbestos exposure inflicts upon people. The amount of media coverage, medical research and litigation make it very clear. However, the company still intends to produce vehicles containing asbestos – to the detriment of their employees, as well as consumers.
U.S. consumers need to understand that without a formal ban on asbestos imports, we are potentially still at risk for additional cases of mesothelioma well into the future.
Chinese automakers say they aren’t worried that the recalls will impact their bottom line, simply because the cars are made and sold so cheaply. The lack of confidence won’t greatly affect sales. But in the end, it seems that profit may come at a far greater price.
Help for mesothelioma victims can be found at The Ferraro Law Firm by calling (888) 554-2030. Offices in Miami, Washington, D.C., and New York City.
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