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Finnish Safety Agency Tackles Car Tire Safety: PAH Compounds and Heavy Metals Under Scrutiny

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The Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes) is launching a market surveillance project during the year 2023, aimed at testing the levels of PAH compounds (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) in car tires and the concentrations of certain heavy metals restricted by legislation in both car tires and aluminum car rims.

Car tires have sparked various discussions in Finland and internationally due to health and environmental concerns related to the long lifespan of tires and the release of compounds from their manufacturing. Tires can continue their existence after recycling in their original form or transformed, for example, into rubber granules or sports field surfaces. Furthermore, the wear and tear of tires release particulate matter into the environment, contributing to health and environmental issues.

"In our market surveillance project, we will be testing car tires and aluminum car rims, including products manufactured both within and outside the EU. The tested car tires will cover summer, studded, and winter tires. This project will take place throughout the ongoing year, and results are expected by late autumn 2023," says Senior Inspector Markus Koponen.

The testing of car tires will focus on PAH compound levels as well as concentrations of lead, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, and mercury. The aluminum rims under examination will undergo measurements for lead, cadmium, and hexavalent chromium.

Restricting Hazardous Substances in Vehicle Parts and Materials

The production of car tires involves the use of plasticizers that help shape the rubber compound into its desired form. These plasticizers can eventually impact the final product's properties. However, the processing of some plasticizers can result in the formation of PAH compounds.

Certain PAH compounds are carcinogenic, mutagenic, and reprotoxic (CMR) substances. The most well-known PAH compound is benzo[a]pyrene, which is classified as capable of causing cancer, genetic damage, fertility issues, and harm to fetuses.

The levels of hazardous substances in car tires are restricted by regulations such as the REACH Regulation in Europe and the Finnish Government Decree on End-of-Life Vehicles and the Restriction of Hazardous Substances in Vehicles (123/2015). The REACH Regulation limits the concentration of PAH compounds from plasticizers used in car tire manufacturing. The decree on end-of-life vehicles restricts the levels of lead, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, and mercury in vehicles and their components, including car tires.

Manufacturers, importers, and sellers of vehicles, parts, and materials are responsible for ensuring their products comply with relevant legislation. Tukes does not pre-inspect products before they are placed on the market but rather conducts risk-based surveillance.

Further news will be released once the test results are available.

SOURCE (in Finnish): 


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