The state Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC) in California is considering a ban on the use of zinc in the tire manufacturing process.
The department has cited studies, which indicate that zinc oxide, which is used to strengthen the rubber in tires as well as tire treads, could harm the waterways across the state, according to media reports.
The DTSC said on its website that zinc from tire treads may seep into storm drains or wind up in rivers and lakes harming aquatic life.
However, the US Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA) said in a statement issued on Jan 12 that the DTSC’s decision to add tires containing zinc oxide to its list of the California Safer Consumer Products Regulations’ priority products list would not serve the intended purpose.
The USTMA noted that zinc, which is not only found in many products including galvanized steel, is found naturally in the environment and the tire manufacturing process uses less than 10pc of the metal. Moreover, the association said that it was working with various agencies and associations to find a more holistic approach to eliminating the issue of the water quality challenges posed by zinc.
The DTSC plans to publish a technical document over the next few months to get public and industry comments to determine whether this regulation is needed or not.