Cleaning agents may be harmful
The auto repair industry could be swapping one hazard for another.
California regulators last year began a two-year phaseout of chlorinated solvents to clean brakes and other greasy surfaces because some of the solvents may cause cancer.
But now the University of California's Berkeley School of Public Health is studying whether some of the replacements, which contain n-hexane, are linked to a limb-numbing disorder in three mechanics. The school believes technicians overexposed to hexane could experience numbness and tingling in their fingers and toes and lose feeling in their arms and legs.
University researchers are analyzing reports from other ailing technicians.
The research, expected to be completed this year, assesses the impact of n-hexane and the extent of exposure at California repair operations.
The Berkeley School of Public Health believes the use of hexane solvents is fairly widespread and solvents containing n-hexane are widely available.
State regulators are promoting the use of water-wash cleaning systems, which they say are safe.
Free maintenance offered
Lincoln now offers complimentary maintenance on all its 2001 model year vehicles. The service covers all routine maintenance - from oil changes to wipers to shocks - for the first three years or 36,000 miles.
Earnings hopes snapped
Snap-on Inc., a Kenosha, Wis., maker of tools and equipment, has lowered its second-quarter earnings forecast because of sales declines and tight profit margins. Net sales are expected to drop about 4 percent from the comparable quarter in 2000.
Snap-on said the economic slowdown has made a dent in sales of big-ticket items such as equipment and large diagnostics.