Mr. Gunnar Almen
AB Svensk Bilprovning
Business and Technical Department
Mail Box 508
S-162 15 Vallingby

Dear Mr. Almen:

This responds to your request for an interpretation of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 105, Hydraulic Brake Systems (49 CFR 571.105). You stated that as the national testing agency for vehicles imported into Sweden, you need to know U.S. regulations for asbestos free brake linings.

By way of background information, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is authorized under Title 49, Chapter 301 of the U.S. Code to issue FMVSSs that set performance requirements for new motor vehicles and new items of motor vehicle equipment. NHTSA does not approve or certify any vehicles or items of equipment, as is the practice in Europe. Instead, Chapter 301 establishes a "self-certification" process under which each manufacturer is responsible for certifying that its products meet all applicable safety standards.

The agency has used this authority to issue FMVSS No. 105, which specifies requirements for hydraulic service brake and associated parking brake systems. This Standard does not contain any provision requiring or prohibiting asbestos free brake linings.

While most brake linings are asbestos free, some brake linings sold in the aftermarket have asbestos.

Please note that the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued rules prohibiting the use of asbestos brakes. We have forwarded your letter to Mr. Mike Matthiesen, Chemical Management Division, Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics, EPA, 401 M Street, SW, Washington DC 20460. He should be able to explain how EPA's rules apply to asbestos brakes.

I hope you find this information helpful. If you have any other questions, please contact Marvin Shaw of my staff at this address or by phone at (202) 366-2992.

John Womack
Acting Chief Counsel

    cc: Mr. Mike Matthiesen
    Chemical Management Division
    Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics, EPA,
    401 M Street, SW,
    Washington DC 20460