The Importance of Research

Tire manufacturers work with many partners to understand the environmental impact of their products, including the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and its Tire Industry Project (TIP). Over more than a decade, TIP has researched and supported 11 peer-reviewed studies on tires and their potential environmental and human health impacts throughout the tire’s life cycle. A group of five independent scientists, known as an Assurance Group, help guide the scientific relevance and robustness of the research and an advisory panel provides input on study methodologies and development.

Tire and road wear particles (TRWP) are an example of a significant research focus of the industry. TRWP are tiny debris produced by necessary friction between tires and road surface They are a mixture of tire tread and road pavement material. To date, TIP’s peer-reviewed studies have found no adverse effects on human health and the environment from TRWP. This includes research that determined tire and road wear particles in sediments present low risk of toxicity in freshwater environments and an assessment that found there is unlikely to be a risk to human health from exposure to TRWP in the air.[1] Because of the importance of this emerging issue, the industry is committed to supporting additional research utilizing peer-reviewed methodologies into the impact of TRWP in air, soil, rivers and oceans.

New research will include the sampling of tire and road wear particles’ presence in different settings, analyzing the degradation of tire and road wear particles, modelling tire and road wear particles’ fate in the environment and investigating potential health impacts on organisms from long-term exposure.

WBCSD’s TIP also played a critical role in the creation of the Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber, a program committed to improvements in the socio-economic and environmental performance of natural rubber. The Global Platform works to address industry issues including forest sustainability, water management and labor, and land and human rights associated with the production of natural rubber.

The tire industry remains committed to studying our products’ potential impact throughout their entire life cycle, and supporting TIP and its contributions to the scientific understanding of the issues to advance the benefits of sustainability mobility.

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