Car repair businesses are often small or micro enterprises with one or a few employees but their total number in a municipality or region can be rather substantial. Car repair businesses deal with a wide variety of products used for the repair and maintenance of vehicles. Isocyanates are one example of hazardous substances used in car repairs businesses. These chemicals serve as glues, lacquer hardeners, adhesives, fillers and sealants as well as coating and insulation materials. Spray-painting is an application with a particular high exposure risk. Other examples of hazardous substances include asbestos dust derived from brake pads, benzene, toluene and xylene present in solvents and antiknock agents. Workers at car repair shops use products containing chemicals that pose the risk of serious health effects including petroleum-based solvents, paints and rust dissolvers as well as primers, polishes and fillers.
Overall, car repair workers may develop grave health effects, mainly via breathing fumes and direct dermal contact if the exposure is continuous. Hence, respiratory and dermal disorders and allergies are the most frequent occupational diseases. Proper risk assessment and chemical management is of great importance in this type of business. Necessary protection measures should focus on the reduction and substitution of dangerous products.