The European Union’s legislation concerning chemical usage has implications for the tyre industry.
The legislation, REACH, involves the registration, evaluation, authorization and restriction of chemical substances. It requires businesses to register chemicals they produce or use in the manufacturing process, and it aims to “improve the protection of human health and the environment through the better and earlier identification of the intrinsic properties of chemical substances”. At a recent Tyre industry meeting in Tokyo, members of the European Tyre & Rubber Manufacturers’ Association (ETRMA) discussed the implications for the tyre industry.
ETRMA consists of the 11 leading tyre manufacturers within the EU – Bridgestone, Continental, Cooper Tires, Goodyear Dunlop, Marangoni, Michelin, Mitas, Nokian, Pirelli, Trelleborg Wheel Systems and Vredestein. The aims of REACH coincide with an increasing awareness of environmental issues within the tyre industry. The REACH legislation will lead to the formation of a database supplying information to consumers concerning the potential dangers of chemical products.
The ETRMA meeting concentrated on the work of the research group led jointly by Bridgestone, Goodyear and Michelin which has been studying tyre wear particles for the last 16 months. The group announced that the research will continue with a further US$2.2 million being earmarked to fund the programme.
The research, coordinated by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, has involved studying the particles produced through normal tyre use, and improving knowledge of materials used in tyre production. Although the programme will continue for a further 18 months, the initial assessments showed sufficient margins of safety for human health based on screening models.