The current major focus of the TIP research effort is developing a better understanding of the fate and possible effects of particles generated during normal tire use and wear. These particles are not simply rubber pieces from the tire, but rather an agglomeration of material from the tire along with material from the road. The State of the Knowledge (July 2008) report highlighted that understanding of these particles is limited. Furthermore, there are concerns about the techniques used to identify the particles with no standards currently existing for analytical techniques or collection methods.
To address this gap, the TIPG initiated a research project to understand the composition and flow of these particles and their potential impact on human health and the environment. Following collection at specially designed facilities, the toxicity of these particles has been analyzed with results showing no evidence of acute or chronic toxicity in water and no evidence of acute toxicity in soil / sediment. The initial results from this research are summarized in an interim report (July 2008). These findings have also been presented at industry conferences, and further details can be found on the publications page.
Since publication of this interim report, a comparative toxicity study has also been carried out to compare the toxic response to these particles to those to that of other airborne particles with known lung inflammation effects and results from this study are currently under evaluation. A tire marker has also been identified, enabling the labeling and tracking of particles in the environment, based on the identification of a certain chemical. This will enable the identification of TRWP in ambient air, water and sediment samples collected from the environment.
Then a global sampling effort was carried out with field work commencing in Europe in the fall of 2010 and continuing through 2011 in locations in the United States and in Japan. The results of this work are available in a summary report.
This was followed by an assessment of human and ecological risk associated with TRWP in the environment.
The consulting firm Cardno ChemRisk has been retained to conduct the research on TRWP, bringing needed expertise in the areas of toxicology and industrial hygiene services, as well as in ecological risk assessment. Results of the research will be submitted for publication in peer-review scientific journals. By engaging in a peer review process with the wider scientific community the accuracy and credibility of the TIP's research results will be enhanced.