Brake pads and shoes that contain asbestos
Some older vehicle brake pads and brake shoes are made with material containing asbestos. The dust that accumulates in the brake area contains very small asbestos particles, a substance which is known to cause cancer. When repairing brakes that contain asbestos, you should be very careful to keep asbestos-containing brake dust out of the atmosphere. When you remove the brake pad or shoe from the brake, vacuum the brake dust. Do not blow it off with an air hose. Have a vacuum and disposable bag that you use only for brake dust, so that when the bag is full you can seal it for disposal. Since small asbestos particles may escape, it is a good idea to wear a breathing mask approved for filterable particulate material. When brakes are bled, try to catch all the brake fluid. See the guide sheet on Brake Fluid for information on how to manage the waste fluid. If possible, avoid using chlorinated solvents for cleaning brakes since it can contaminate the brake fluid and make it difficult to recycle. Separate used brake pads or shoes that have materials containing asbestos from your other trash. For disposal information about brake pads or shoes that have asbestos containing material, contact Columbia Resource Company at 695-4858.
Brake pads and shoes that contain copper
Many brake pads contain copper, which is highly toxic to aquatic life. Recent studies show that as brake pads wear, they contribute up to 40% of the copper that enters waterways through storm drains. Brake pads are a potentially significant source of copper, which was rated by the National Undersea Research Program (NURP) studies as the most important toxic pollutant in urban storm water runoff. When it is time to replace your brake pads, inquire about pads made from materials that contain little or no copper. Some parts stores have information about brake pads' copper content, although manufacturers are not currently required to list ingredients.
Recycling brake pads and shoes that DO NOT contain asbestos
All metal parts associated with brakes, including brake shoes, brake pads and metal shavings should be recycled with other scrap metals (go to METAL (ALUMINUM, BRASS, COPPER, IRON, LEAD, STEEL, TIN in RECYCLING A-Z).