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Environmental groups petition EPA to ban lead tire weights

lead-tire-weightsLead tire weights are small pieces of metal which are clipped to the rims of light truck and passenger tires in order to balance them out. On average, 4.5oz of lead is clipped to the wheel rims of every automobile in the United States! While the weights certainly do their part to balance tires, they often come loose and fall off as the vehicle is moving. This allows lead to be washed into waterways, eaten by animals, or pulverized into toxic dust over time. Once lead enters the atmosphere or water, it becomes extremely toxic to living creatures.

Now, a coalition of environmental groups is spearheading another effort to get lead tire weights banned. The federal government has already banned the use of lead in paint, gasoline and other products. It is estimated that tire weights are responsible for contributing over one million pounds of uncontrolled and unmanaged lead into the environment every year. The Bush administration rejected a similar petition 4 years ago citing lack of evidence despite numerous studies.

There are numerous tire weight alternatives that do not use lead, which is one of the 31 so-called toxic “priority chemicals” that has already been targeted for reduction by the EPA. Currently lead tire weights make up 80% of the market. A spokesperson from the EPA announced they had received the petition and would read and deliver their response within 90 days. A ban could not only affect weight manufacturers such as Henessy-Bada, Perfect Equipment and Plombco Inc, but also retail and wholesale tire distributors who would have to deal with inventory that currently is using lead weights.

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