Tips & News


Are your brakes making you sick?

Everyone knows that gas powered vehicles give off carbon emissions, but did you know that they also emit brake dust?

You may also be surprised to find out that even fully electric vehicles give off brake dust and contribute to pollution.

Read on to learn more about the impacts of brake dust on your health, and what you can do to prevent its harmful effects.

What is brake dust?

Every time you use your brakes, metal particles produced by the rubbing of your brake pads against your wheel are emitted. These tiny particles are harmful both to the environment and your health.

Brake dust makes up for 20% of particle pollution, compared to just 7% contributed by exhaust fumes. The pollution is a mixture of microscopic solid and liquid droplets found in the air. When inhaled, these droplets can cause serious health problems. As all cars give off brake dust, there is no such thing as a truly zero-emission vehicle.

How does brake dust impact my health?

When these tiny metal droplets are inhaled into our lungs, they react with sulphate rich particles in the air and create a toxic aerosol. This aerosol can damage our lungs and create respiratory problems.

In the UK, the term “London Throat,” is used when a person experiences a froggy throat and chronic cough caused by brake dust pollution. More seriously, inhalation can contribute to pneumonia or bronchitis and can destroy white blood cells, a critical part of your immune system.

How can I prevent brake dust pollution?

  1. Replace worn out brake pads

When brake pads are worn out, they create more pollution. Typically brake pads need to be replaced every 80,000 km. Pay attention to any unusual noises and ask your mechanic to inspect your brake pads each time you get an oil change.

  1. Service your brake calipers

If your brake calipers or caliper sliders are sticking, your brakes will create more dust than usual. Brake calipers should generally be serviced every two years or 38,000 km.

  1. Choose ceramic brake pads instead of semi-metallic

Ceramic brake pads typically create less brake dust compared to semi-metallic, and the brake dust they do create is less toxic.

Following these steps, you’ll help to reduce the amount of brake dust pollution in the environment.

Another aspect of looking after your health and safety is to ensure that you have the right car insurance coverage for an emergency.

If you have questions about your coverage or are interested in an auto insurance quote, give AGR Insurance Brokers a call at 1-800-668-0250.