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Where the rubber meets the road: Emerging environmental impacts of tire wear particles and their chemical cocktails.

TitleWhere the rubber meets the road: Emerging environmental impacts of tire wear particles and their chemical cocktails.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2024
AuthorsMayer PM, Moran KD, Miller EL, Brander SM, Harper S, Garcia-Jaramillo M, Carrasco-Navarro V, Ho KT, Burgess RM, Hampton LMThornton, Granek EF, McCauley M, McIntyre JK, Kolodziej EP, Hu X, Williams AJ, Beckingham BA, Jackson ME, Sanders-Smith RD, Fender CL, King GA, Bollman M, Kaushal SS, Cunningham BE, Hutton SJ, Lang J, Goss HV, Siddiqui S, Sutton R, Lin D, Mendez M
JournalSci Total Environ
Date Published2024 Jun 01

About 3 billion new tires are produced each year and about 800 million tires become waste annually. Global dependence upon tires produced from natural rubber and petroleum-based compounds represents a persistent and complex environmental problem with only partial and often-times, ineffective solutions. Tire emissions may be in the form of whole tires, tire particles, and chemical compounds, each of which is transported through various atmospheric, terrestrial, and aquatic routes in the natural and built environments. Production and use of tires generates multiple heavy metals, plastics, PAH's, and other compounds that can be toxic alone or as chemical cocktails. Used tires require storage space, are energy intensive to recycle, and generally have few post-wear uses that are not also potential sources of pollutants (e.g., crumb rubber, pavements, burning). Tire particles emitted during use are a major component of microplastics in urban runoff and a source of unique and highly potent toxic substances. Thus, tires represent a ubiquitous and complex pollutant that requires a comprehensive examination to develop effective management and remediation. We approach the issue of tire pollution holistically by examining the life cycle of tires across production, emissions, recycling, and disposal. In this paper, we synthesize recent research and data about the environmental and human health risks associated with the production, use, and disposal of tires and discuss gaps in our knowledge about fate and transport, as well as the toxicology of tire particles and chemical leachates. We examine potential management and remediation approaches for addressing exposure risks across the life cycle of tires. We consider tires as pollutants across three levels: tires in their whole state, as particulates, and as a mixture of chemical cocktails. Finally, we discuss information gaps in our understanding of tires as a pollutant and outline key questions to improve our knowledge and ability to manage and remediate tire pollution.

Alternate JournalSci Total Environ
PubMed ID38460683
Project Reference: 
Nano-scale Plastic Aquatic Toxicology

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