Car tyres produce vastly more particle pollution than exhausts, tests show | Pollution | The Guardian
Almost 2,000 times more particle pollution is produced by tyre wear than is pumped out of the exhausts of modern cars, tests have shown.
The tyre particles pollute air, water and soil and contain a wide range of toxic organic compounds, including known carcinogens, the analysts say, suggesting tyre pollution could rapidly become a major issue for regulators.
Air pollution causes millions of early deaths a year globally. The requirement for better filters has meant particle emissions from tailpipes in developed countries are now much lower in new cars, with those in Europe far below the legal limit. However, the increasing weight of cars means more particles are being thrown off by tyres as they wear on the road.
The tests also revealed that tyres produce more than 1tn ultrafine particles for each kilometre driven, meaning particles smaller than 23 nanometres. These are also emitted from exhausts and are of special concern to health, as their size means they can enter organs via the bloodstream. Particles below 23nm are hard to measure and are not currently regulated in either the EU or US.