Current Issue
Published on June 3, 2013

Industry analyzes global impact of tires

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The Tire Industry Project was formed by the global tire industry with an objective to anticipate the potential long-term environmental and health issues relating
to tire manufacturing and the service life of tires that could impact the tire industry globally. The TIP was initiated by the CEOs of 11 of the world’s largest tire
manufacturers who have required that the research be neutral, global, scientifically valid and reported directly to them on a regular basis. Our methods included: development of a state of knowledge through a global literature review to determine data gaps and prioritize data needs; design of research programs to characterize the wear particles generated by the tire during the service life; understand the potential toxicological hazards to humans and the environment; and quantify the amount of wear particles in the environment. The results of the studies showed that the wear particles are a mix of tread rubber and pavement with a distinct size and morphology; the aquatic toxicity of the particles was low and the potential for human toxicity was also low. The global sampling program results showed that the particles are widely dispersed in the environment but at low concentrations in the ambient air and sediment. We have concluded that tire wear particles present a low risk from exposure to humans and the environment. On-going work of the TIP includes: characterization of the potential for chemical release from tire and road wear particles throughout its life cycle; collaboration with the OECD to develop a case study for the use of new engineered nanomaterials in the tire industry and a best practices guide for handling new nanomaterials; and characterization of the potential for exposure to nanoparticles of carbon black and silica during manufacturing.