Health impact of tire particles causing ‘increasing concern’

Scientists are increasingly concerned by the health impact of air pollution produced by the wear of vehicle tires. The particles are especially damaging due to the toxic chemicals they are made from, say scientists from Imperial College London. The Guardian reports about it.

The warning follows UK government data showing that significantly more tiny pollution particles now come from tire erosion than from vehicle exhausts. Dutch research also showed this impact.

The UK report estimates 52% of all the small particle pollution from road transport came from tire and brake wear in 2021, plus a further 24% from abrasion of roads and their paint markings. Just 15% of the emissions came from the exhausts of cars and a further 10% from vans and HGVs.

Trials of new types of tires sponsored by Transport for London (TfL) found they could result in up to 35% fewer emissions. A new type of tire, designed by startup company Enso specifically for electric vehicles and to produce less tire wear, was tested in a six-month trial using dozens of vans operated by Royal Mail and the delivery company DPD.

The EU is also due to regulating tire emissions, with new standards due to be in force by mid-2025.

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