Here in the US, we buy a lot of products made in China. A lot. In fact, it’s hard to buy some things made in the US even if you want to, like shoes.

The American automobile industry has recovered very well from the economic meltdown of 2008, with help, of course, from the federal government, but we still import cars from many other countries like Korea, Japan and Germany.

Although Chinese cars have been seen at US auto shows in recent years, their safety standards are not yet up to US regulations, but experts expect that to change soon. After all, they used to say the same about Japanese cars and how many Camrys do you see on the road every day? Countless.

In Australia, however, Chinese cars are a big part of the automobile import business and they got a wakeup call last week. Apparently Ateco Automotive has been using asbestos in engine and exhaust gaskets and, although the asbestos would not be a danger to drivers, it is against Australian law.

23,000 cars have been recalled and the gaskets will be replaced with non-asbestos containing parts, but the whole story brings to mind other stories we have heard about Chinese products entering the US which contain dangerous levels of lead or other substances prohibited under US law. Remember when all those dogs and cats died from melamine in wheat gluten from China used in pet food?

These uses of asbestos are legal in China, but at Alliance Environmental Group, we are not only concerned for the unknowing buyers and drivers of cars containing asbestos parts, but for the workers in China who need to be protected from workplace exposure to this carcinogenic mineral and workers elsewhere who could be exposed when repairing these automobiles. We sincerely hope that the Chinese auto makers rethink their use of asbestos, whether legal or not, and put more energy in to keeping their workers and their customers safe. Until they do, there won’t be any Chinese cars on US roads, that’s for sure!

Wendy Stackhouse is the Online Community Manager for Alliance Environmental Group and AirTek Indoor Air Solutions. We welcome your comments and questions! For more news and tips or talk to our experts, Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter! For updates on indoor air challenges, Like us at AirTek on Facebook!