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Automotive recyclers call for federal action to eliminate import and use of asbestos brake pads in Canada

Asbestos brake pads pose a health risk to recyclers managing end-of-life vehicles.

(Toronto, April 12, 2016) To eliminate the asbestos related health risks associated with recycling end-of-life vehicles (ELV) the Automotive Recyclers of Canada (ARC) is adding its voice in support of a call for federal policies to effectively eliminate the import and use of asbestos in Canada.

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, one of the largest categories of asbestos containing products imported into Canada is after-market brake pads. Canada imported more than $100-million in asbestos brake pads and linings between 2005 and 2015. Imports of asbestos containing brake pads into Canada continue to increase unabated.

On April 5th 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 notes, “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.” adding, “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.”

About the Automotive Recyclers of Canada

The Automotive Recyclers of Canada represents over 400 vehicle recyclers and dismantlers from across Canada. ARC members collectively recycle an average of 400,000 vehicles each year thereby avoiding over 1 million metric tonnes of greenhouse gases associated with producing metals from raw materials.

For media inquiries please contact Mr. Steve Fletcher, Managing Director at (519) 858-8761 and

Media Release

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