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Environmental Protection Agency Accepts Petition: Moves to Ban Sale of Toxic Lead Tire Balancing Weights for Cars

August 25th, Washington, DC - In a decision issued today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reversed its 2005 decision and accepted a petition from a dozen environmental and public health organizations to immediately begin rulemaking to ban lead wheel balancing weights. Lead in wheel weights represents one of the largest unregulated uses of lead in consumer products today. These wheel weights are used to balance vehicle tires so they don't vibrate as they spin. In a separate action today, EPA reached a settlement of a lawsuit to fix a flawed rulemaking to deal with the largest source of lead poisoning - lead in paint from renovation, repair and painting activities. Read More

Download Letter Granting Petition
Read EPA Press Announcement

UC Irvine Working to Remove Lead Wheel Weights from Fleet
IRVINE, CA : The University of California, Irvine (UC Irvine) announced plans to replace lead wheel weights from the tires in its fleet. The university is following in the footsteps of fellow California government fleet, Contra Costa County, recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency for its efforts to voluntarily remove more than 2,000 lbs. of lead from its fleet by 2012. Read more...

Updated List of Lead-Free Weight Distributors Available
Check out the rapidly growing list of distributors and retailers of lead-free weights...

Chrysler, Wheel Weight Makers Agree to Eliminate Lead

Oakland, CA - The Center for Environmental Health (CEH) today announced it has reached a legal agreement with Chrysler and the three largest producers of automobile wheel bearing weights, requiring the companies to end the use of leaded wheel weights in California by the end of 2009. The landmark agreement marks the first-ever legally binding statewide rule phasing out lead in wheel weights in the U.S., and will end the annual release of 500,000 pounds of lead into the environment in California, which occurs when wheel weights break off of automobile wheels. Read more...

Legal Action Cites Chrysler, Producers for Continuing Use of Lead-Based Wheel Weights

Oakland, CA - The Center for Environmental Health (CEH) today initiated legal action to stop the sale of lead-based wheel weights in the state of California, due to the threat of lead pollution to the state's waterways from wheel weights that fall from cars and trucks. CEH notified the major producers of wheel weights and Chrysler, a leading auto maker, that the lead-based weights are illegal under state's safe drinking water law. While other auto makers have eliminated or are moving away from the use of lead wheel weights, Chrysler continues to use the lead-polluting product for most of its new U.S. car models. Read more...
Download CEH Report: Polluted Highways, Poisoned Waters: Lead in Wheel Balancing Weights" (pdf)

Everybody's jumping on the BAN-wagon: Lead wheel weights give way to viable alternatives

From www.moderntiredealer.com - State by state, lead wheel weights are being targeted for elimination. Vermont, Maine, and Washington already have enacted bills prohibiting their use. California and Iowa have pending legislation. Read more...

Industry's still moving to get lead out of wheel weights

From www.moderntiredealer.com - On October 11, California Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Senate Bill 757 into law. the news was not totally surprising given its pupose: to ban the sale -- and installation -- of lead wheel weights throughout the state. Read more...

Lead isn't dead, but steel is the real deal
From www.tirebusiness.com - The majority of wheel weights are still made of lead. That won’t last forever, however. Environmental concerns are changing the landscape of this once unchanging and seemingly unalterable market because lead is a highly toxic chemical targeted for reduction by the Environmental Protection Agency. Read more...

Industry's still moving to get lead out of wheel weights
From www.moderntiredealer.com - WASHINGTON-The tire distribution business may not be hurrying to get the lead out of wheel balancing weights, but it definitely is moving in that direction. BADA, the wheel weight manufacturing division of La Vergne, Tenn.-based Hennessy Industries Inc., has launched a Web site, www.steelwheelweights.com, that touts the environmental benefits of steel wheel weights in general and BADA's steel weights in particular. Read more...

Lead wheel weights featured in Environment Science and Technology
Tires and lead: A weighty issue, Science News - August 2, 2006
Lead has long been the material of choice in weights used to balance vehicle wheels, but a new analysis shows how often these weights fall off, posing potential risks to human and environmental health. Tires crunch against street curbs or come to a screeching halt when drivers stop or swerve suddenly. In the process, one or more of the weights clipped to the wheels to balance the tires - 2.5 oz/car wheel on average - may get thrown off onto the roadway. In 2003 alone, 2000 t of lead may have been lost from vehicles in this fashion, according to estimates released in May by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

European Union Holds Firm On Lead Weight Phase-Out Timeline
Committee for the Adaptation to Scientific and Technical Progress of EC Legislation on Waste recently rejected the efforts of some parts of the European Tire Industry to delay the July 2005 lead wheel phase-out deadline in Europe. Most major wheel weight producers in Europe are 100% lead-free for weights for vehicle under 3,500 kilgrams. Download record of decision (pdf) May 17, 2005

Environmentalists Move to Ban Major Automotive Lead Use
Environmentalists have asked EPA to ban the sales of one off the largest unregulated sources of lead to the environment, automotive wheel balancing weights.
May 17, 2005

Download Ecology Center Toxic Substance Control Act Citizens Petition

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Washington State Tire Retailer to Phase-Out Lead Wheel Weights
First tire dealer on West Coast to offer environmentally friendly wheel balancing
April 19, 2005

A lighter load: Minn. phases out lead wheel weights in Automotive News/Waste News, April 19, 2004

Automakers Divided Over Lead Wheel Weights by the Great Lakes Radio Consurtium, April 12, 2004

Ecology Center Rolls Out "Lead-Free Wheels Project" in From the Ground Up April, 2004

Ann Arbor Announces Program to Phase-Out Lead Wheel Weights on City Vehicles

Minnesota Announces Program to Phase-Out Lead Wheel Weights on State Vehicles

Putting the Brakes on Lead Wheel Weights by the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, March 24

Ecology Center to Demonstrate Safer Substitutes for Major Auto Lead Use in From the Ground Up

Lead Free Wheels is a project of the Ecology Center.
117 N. Division St., Ann Arbor, MI 48104-1580
734-663-2400 / e-mail info@ecocenter.org