Jul 29, 2021

Recent studies by the San Francisco Estuary Institute (SFEI) and the Regional Monitoring Program (RMP) have pinpointed chemical and microplastic contamination from tires as a rising concern in the Bay.  Tire ingredients of interest include zinc, which has many documented adverse health effects in wildlife, and 6PPD, a preservative that is lethal to coho salmon. Other tire ingredients may also pose concerns to wildlife. 

The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) has suggested using the Safer Consumer Products program to regulate the presence of zinc and 6PPD in tires.  DTSC held a two day virtual public workshop to discuss this proposal, with SFEI scientists providing scientific input to inform decision-making, alongside international scientists, industry experts, and impacted stakeholders. 

Specifically, Dr. Kelly Moran provided broad scientific background on tires as a source of contaminants via a presentation titled, “How Tire Particles and Chemicals Reach California’s Aquatic Environments.” Later, Dr. Rebecca Sutton documented the presence of a broad range of tire ingredients in San Francisco Bay, and updated the agency on future monitoring efforts.  

Should DTSC decide to regulate ingredients in tires, manufacturers would begin a process designed to identify more environmentally safe alternatives while maintaining tire safety and performance standards.  Workshop materials and agendas can be found on the DTSC website.

Associated Staff: 
Programs and Focus Areas: 
Clean Water Program
Contaminants of Emerging Concern