Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Hybrid Bicycles
Reload this Page >

Is disk brake pad toxicity an issue

Hybrid Bicycles Where else would you go to discuss these fun, versatile bikes?

Is disk brake pad toxicity an issue

Old 06-05-18, 01:20 AM
  #1  
Simonsky
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Posts: 3
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Is disk brake pad toxicity an issue

After years of not cycling I'm now thinking of getting a Hybrid to regain some fitness as I com out of post-mid-life-crisis.

I have noticed that, since I last cycled about 20 years ago (!) many bikes have hydraulic disk brakes. Being a bit OCDish I was wondering whether brake pads give of toxic dust or might still contain asbestos (especially if imported from China).

I suspect it's a non issue as brake pads on bikes are small but I thought I'd ask the question.

Many thanks,

Simon
Simonsky is offline  
Old 06-05-18, 06:10 AM
  #2  
hokiefyd
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Northern Shenandoah Valley
Posts: 2,190

Bikes: 2018 Redline Zander, 2018 Giant Roam 2, 2015 Trek Verve 3, 1997 Trek 750, 1969 Peugeot PO-18

Mentioned: 25 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 741 Post(s)
Liked 46 Times in 42 Posts
Welcome, Simon.

There are three types of brake pads commonly in use today. Fully metallic (often called sintered metallic), semi-metallic, and organic (often called resin). I very seriously doubt that asbestos has been used in bicycle brake pads. If in doubt, you could contact some brake pads manufacturers and pose the question. Shimano, SRAM/Avid, Tektro, and Kool-Stop are four leading brake and brake pad manufacturers.
hokiefyd is offline  
Old 06-05-18, 06:52 AM
  #3  
dabac
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 7,935
Mentioned: 36 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 813 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
I'd be HUGELY surprised if any of the big brands used asbestos-based compounds.
A noname vendor MIGHT use just about ANYTHING in a copied product. But with the limited remaining use there is of asbestos, I wonder how many would have it on site anyhow. Seems like a low risk to me.
By definition, brake dust probably isn't exactly healthy to inhale anyway - dust rarely is.
I reckon what ultimately makes it "safe" is the amounts the average rider can realistically be exposed to.
dabac is offline  
Old 06-05-18, 07:47 AM
  #4  
Simonsky
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Posts: 3
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by dabac View Post
I'd be HUGELY surprised if any of the big brands used asbestos-based compounds.
A noname vendor MIGHT use just about ANYTHING in a copied product. But with the limited remaining use there is of asbestos, I wonder how many would have it on site anyhow. Seems like a low risk to me.
By definition, brake dust probably isn't exactly healthy to inhale anyway - dust rarely is.
I reckon what ultimately makes it "safe" is the amounts the average rider can realistically be exposed to.

Thanks for response. I agree that the risk is small. There have been some cases of car brake pads finding there way into the market from Chin that contain asbestos. In the case of brake pads, I imagine those are mostly made in China, so who knows for sure-probably depends on the level of controls in each country. I imagine that, in general, exposure to dust from bike brake pads must be very small given their size and positioning. I've read that the 'organic' pads are the least polluting-any views on this?
Simonsky is offline  
Old 06-05-18, 07:52 AM
  #5  
dabac
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 7,935
Mentioned: 36 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 813 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by Simonsky View Post
Thanks for response. I agree that the risk is small. There have been some cases of car brake pads finding there way into the market from Chin that contain asbestos. In the case of brake pads, I imagine those are mostly made in China, so who knows for sure-probably depends on the level of controls in each country. I imagine that, in general, exposure to dust from bike brake pads must be very small given their size and positioning. I've read that the 'organic' pads are the least polluting-any views on this?
No, not really.
Given that the bulk of my mileage is suburb-to-city commuting, the bicycle brake pads would have to be fairly potent to show up against the background of other pollutants I get exposed to during an average ride.
dabac is offline  
Old 06-05-18, 09:22 AM
  #6  
Skipjacks
Senior Member
 
Skipjacks's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Mid Atlantic / USA
Posts: 1,952

Bikes: 2017 Specialized Crosstrail / 2013 Trek Crossrip Elite

Mentioned: 42 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 941 Post(s)
Liked 152 Times in 98 Posts
Even if the pads were pure asbestos, it won't hurt you.

The amount of brake dust those pads emit is minuscule. And it's in open air in a breeze (since by definition you're only using the pads when you're moving, so there's always a breeze going by the pads to disperse any dust)

Asbestos is a problem with prolonged exposure. Minuscule trace amounts present in an open air environment with a breeze aren't going to be deadly.

Besides, the most dangerous kind of asbestos is amosite asbestos. That's been banned outright for a while. The asbestos that's still used in things today is chrysotile asbestos and is much less tenacious as far as sticking to the linings of the lungs. Low level exposure to this kind of asbestos is not considered to be a health hazzard.

And on top of all that, brake pads are not made of asbestos anyway.

Get a disc brake bike and feel safe on it. They are awesome, especially in the rain!
Skipjacks is offline  
Old 06-05-18, 09:51 AM
  #7  
Simonsky
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Posts: 3
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Skipjacks View Post
Even if the pads were pure asbestos, it won't hurt you.

The amount of brake dust those pads emit is minuscule. And it's in open air in a breeze (since by definition you're only using the pads when you're moving, so there's always a breeze going by the pads to disperse any dust)

Asbestos is a problem with prolonged exposure. Minuscule trace amounts present in an open air environment with a breeze aren't going to be deadly.

Besides, the most dangerous kind of asbestos is amosite asbestos. That's been banned outright for a while. The asbestos that's still used in things today is chrysotile asbestos and is much less tenacious as far as sticking to the linings of the lungs. Low level exposure to this kind of asbestos is not considered to be a health hazzard.

And on top of all that, brake pads are not made of asbestos anyway.

Get a disc brake bike and feel safe on it. They are awesome, especially in the rain!
All good points and I'm sure you are right in what you say. The only other argument against disc brake pads would be that one is marginally contributing to pollution as against particles from caliper brake pads which don't have metallic components ( perhaps some do?). On the other hand the disc brakes are safer in wet ( I'm in the U.K!!) which is a major issue ( when I used to cycle years ago I nearly had major accidents due to radical changes in stopping distance when brakes were wet).

In any case I drive a car! So the amount of dust from those pads will be thousands of times or more that of a bike. I'll probably go for the disc brakes!.

Thanks for discussion- very helpful.
Simonsky is offline  
Old 06-05-18, 11:13 AM
  #8  
Skipjacks
Senior Member
 
Skipjacks's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Mid Atlantic / USA
Posts: 1,952

Bikes: 2017 Specialized Crosstrail / 2013 Trek Crossrip Elite

Mentioned: 42 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 941 Post(s)
Liked 152 Times in 98 Posts
Originally Posted by Simonsky View Post
All good points and I'm sure you are right in what you say. The only other argument against disc brake pads would be that one is marginally contributing to pollution as against particles from caliper brake pads which don't have metallic components ( perhaps some do?). On the other hand the disc brakes are safer in wet ( I'm in the U.K!!) which is a major issue ( when I used to cycle years ago I nearly had major accidents due to radical changes in stopping distance when brakes were wet).

In any case I drive a car! So the amount of dust from those pads will be thousands of times or more that of a bike. I'll probably go for the disc brakes!.

Thanks for discussion- very helpful.
Brake dust from a bike brake pad contributing to pollution?

You're kidding, right?

The dust from a bike brake pad is so immeasurably small that it will just become part of the dirt and will be fully degradable due to the sheer smallness of the particles. Organic dust is already basically just dirt. Metalic dust will decompose on a chemical level as rust nearly instantly upon exposure to any moisture. In both circumstances the dust turns into dirt.
Skipjacks is offline  
Old 06-05-18, 11:44 AM
  #9  
hokiefyd
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Northern Shenandoah Valley
Posts: 2,190

Bikes: 2018 Redline Zander, 2018 Giant Roam 2, 2015 Trek Verve 3, 1997 Trek 750, 1969 Peugeot PO-18

Mentioned: 25 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 741 Post(s)
Liked 46 Times in 42 Posts
Originally Posted by Simonsky View Post
The only other argument against disc brake pads would be that one is marginally contributing to pollution as against particles from caliper brake pads which don't have metallic components ( perhaps some do?).
This will be a nearly infinitesimally small amount of dust. Besides, organic/resin pads for bikes exist, and are even common in consumer applications, so the amount of metallic material in an already extremely small brake pad is zero or so close to it that it would be difficult to measure.

The advances they offer to rider safety, especially where it's often wet, is likely much more relevant to daily life, at least in my opinion.
hokiefyd is offline  
Old 06-05-18, 03:39 PM
  #10  
fietsbob 
coprolite
 
fietsbob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 41,632

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 188 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6837 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 215 Times in 179 Posts
Everything is bad, and labeled as such , for Californians.
fietsbob is online now  
Old 06-13-18, 11:48 PM
  #11  
jsdavis
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 1,289
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 46 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rim brakes will still generate dust. The rubber friction material will make rubber dust; aluminum bits will wear off the brake track on the wheel; and pink colored rim brake pads contain iron oxide.
jsdavis is offline  
Old 06-28-18, 11:42 AM
  #12  
ukwildcat
Junior Member
 
ukwildcat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Posts: 12
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I got the discs on my Specialized hybrid.
Definitely recommend them.
But, fair warning, do NOT touch them after braking for any time.
They are hot enough to really burn you.
ukwildcat is offline  
Old 07-03-18, 08:12 AM
  #13  
Pompiere
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: NW Ohio
Posts: 2,462

Bikes: 1984 Miyata 310, 1986 Schwinn Sierra, 2011 Jamis Quest, 1980 Peugeot TH8 Tandem, 1992 Performance Parabola, 1987 Ross Mt. Hood, 1988 Schwinn LeTour, 1988 Trek 400T

Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 217 Post(s)
Liked 9 Times in 7 Posts
I think the benefits of reliable braking in all weather conditions by far outweighs the the infinitesimally small health risk from bicycle brake dust. Don't get hung up on the minutia.
Pompiere is offline  
Old 07-03-18, 09:59 AM
  #14  
fietsbob 
coprolite
 
fietsbob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 41,632

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 188 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6837 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 215 Times in 179 Posts
Australia used to have a whole town dependant on an Asbestos mine,

nobody remains there. but in the gravesites..
fietsbob is online now  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.