If you're a bit older, you may remember a time when asbestos was referred to as the "miracle mineral," but if you're younger, you'll know asbestos from the torrent of tort lawyer ads advertising cash for mesothelioma victims. If you're from Australia, however, you may be driving a car with some asbestos in it: some 23,000 Great Wall and Chery vehicles in the country were found to contain some of the carcinogenic material.
The Australian government's Competition and Consumer Commission issued an alert this week that said that government customs officers found asbestos in some spare parts for Great Wall and Chery cars imported from China, which triggered an investigation. The results were a bit strange: it found that about 23,000 Chinese imported cars, including Great Wall and Chery branded ones, had engine and exhaust gaskets that contain asbestos.
What happens next might be a bit unfamiliar to Americans: the Australian government issued an alert but did not initiate a full recall. The supplier instructed the manufacturers to stop selling all affected vehicles, and will recall and replace all spare parts with asbestos-free ones, but owners of affected cars will not be instructed to replace the affected parts. If an owner demands the removal of the parts, or a part goes bad and must be replaced, it'll be replaced by an asbestos-free gasket. Otherwise, Australians will drive their Great Wall and Chery vehicles around as normal.
The Australian government also instructed owners of those Great Wall and Chery cars who would otherwise perform repairs themselves to send their cars to a certified mechanic for replacement of those gaskets.