Product Sustainability in the Tire Industry
- Challenge: Millions of tons of tread are worn from tires globally every year and questions have been raised regarding the potential for health effects associated with the particles in the ambient air as well as the ecological effects from the transport of the particles to watersheds. However, the topic had not been formally addressed by the tire industry, so Cardno ChemRisk was asked to assist.
- Approach: Cardno ChemRisk assembled and reviewed the published scientific literature on the topic of tire and road wear particles in nine languages, identified data gaps, determined and prioritized data needs and designed and implemented a comprehensive research program to fill the data needs.
- Findings: The research program has filled data needs with respect to the physical and chemical properties of the particles; aquatic toxicity of the particles in freshwater systems; mammalian toxicity from inhalation of the particles; development of a chemical marker to detect the particles in the environment; quantification of the particles in air, sediment and roadside soil; and most recently an evaluation of the potential fate of chemicals released from the particles in the environment.
- Value: This project is considered one of the most proactive “product sustainability” programs in the consumer products industry. The research has allowed the industry to answer the concerns of many NGOs and regulatory agencies regarding environmental impacts of their products. Further it provides the industry with the proper foundation for future development of sustainable products.