Europe set to get tough on toxic tyres

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By Denna Bowman

New rules governing the manufacturing of tyres are expected to come into force throughout the European Union, banning the use of toxic high aromatic (HA) oils.

These oils, which have been traditionally used to make tyres, are defined as toxic if they contain more than three percent polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, known as PCAs.

The EU is expected to ban them completely if new rules come into force later this year requiring manufacturers to replace them with ‘clean’ alternatives.

When introduced, these guidelines could impact on manufacturers’ ability to supply their product if they have not switched to a clean alternative already.

The tyre industry has traditionally used HA oils, which are byproducts of the oil industry, in the manufacture of tyre treads.

Nokian Tyres became the first tyre manufacturer in the world to terminate the use of high aromatic oils in all production at the end of 2004.

It stated: “We have fulfilled our promise to consumers to manufacture HA-free products long before approval of the motion concerning the entry into force of the EU directive requiring HA-free products.

“According to the latest information, the EU directive concerning the manufacture of HA-free tyres will enter into force in 2010 at the earliest.”

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