Understanding TRWP in the environment

Important research supported by the European Tyre and Rubber Manufacturers Association (ETRMA) has improved understanding of the potential flows and sinks of TRWP in the environment.

A two-part study published in 2018 (part 1, part 2) focused on the Seine watershed (France) and concluded that most TRWP is deposited on roadside soil, whilst around 18% of TRWP can be removed from the road surface as runoff and reach surface waters.

In the case of the Seine watershed, it is expected that more than 60% of the TRWP that reaches surface waters is transported to wastewater treatment. The study suggests that 2-5% of TRWP is expected to travel as far as the estuary.

This is an important finding relevant to discussions on the potential contribution of TRWP to marine microplastics. 

Corroborating the findings of other research (1, 2), the ETRMA-sponsored studies suggest that a small fraction of TRWP (~2%) is released to the air. 

Early TIP-sponsored studies (1, 2, 3) into the potential presence and acute and chronic toxicity of TRWP in freshwater environments suggested that TRWP present low toxicity and low risk to freshwater- and sediment-dwelling species. 

However, we acknowledge that there is much to learn about the particles generated through the normal use of tires and our studies into the potential environmental impacts of TRWP continue with work that includes investigation into the impact on organisms of long-term exposure to TRWP. 

References

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Aging of tire and road wear particles in terrestrial and freshwater environments – A review on processes, testing, analysis and impact
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Characterization of Individual Tire and Road Wear Particles in Environmental Road Dust, Tunnel Dust, and Sediment
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Pyrolysis-Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (Py-GC-MS) Quantification of Tire and Road Wear Particles (TRWP) in Environmental Matrices: Assessing the Importance of Microstructure in Instrument Calibration Protocols
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Panko et al. 2019
Evaluation of Tire Wear Contribution to PM2.5 in Urban Environments.
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Unice et al. 2019
Characterizing export of land-based microplastics to the estuary - Part II: Sensitivity analysis of an integrated geospatial microplastic transport modeling assessment of tire and road wear particles
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Unice et al. 2019
Characterizing export of land-based microplastics to the estuary - Part I: Application of integrated geospatial microplastic transport models to assess tire and road wear particles in the Seine watershed
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Unice et al. 2013
Comparison of Tire and Road Wear Particle Concentrations in Sediment for Watersheds in France, Japan, and the United States by Quantitative Pyrolysis GC/MS Analysis
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Panko et al. 2013
Measurement of airborne concentrations of tire and road wear particles in urban and rural areas of France, Japan, and the United States
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Panko et al. 2012
Chronic toxicity of tire and road wear particles to water- and sediment-dwelling organisms
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Marwood et al. 2011
Acute aquatic toxicity of tire and road wear particles to alga, daphnid, and fish
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