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Toxic Tire Wear Compounds (6PPD-Q and 4-ADPA) Detected in Airborne Particulate Matter Along a Highway in Mississippi, USA

Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology Aims and scope Submit manuscript


Tire wear particles (TWPs) are a major category of microplastic pollution produced by friction between tires and road surfaces. This non-exhaust particulate matter (PM) containing leachable toxic compounds is transported through the air and with stormwater runoff, leading to environmental pollution and human health concerns. In the present study, we collected airborne PM at varying distances (5, 15 and 30 m) along US Highway 278 in Oxford, Mississippi, USA, for ten consecutive days using Sigma-2 passive samplers. Particles (~ 1–80 μm) were passively collected directly into small (60 mL) wide-mouth separatory funnels placed inside the samplers. Particles were subsequently subjected to solvent extraction, and extracts were analyzed for TWP compounds by high resolution orbitrap mass spectrometry. This pilot study was focused solely on qualitative analyses to determine whether TWP compounds were present in this fraction of airborne PM. The abundance of airborne TWPs increased with proximity to the road with deposition rates (TWPs cm−2 day−1) of 23, 47, and 63 at 30 m, 15 m, and 5 m from the highway, respectively. Two common TWP compounds (6PPD-Q and 4-ADPA) were detected in all samples, except the field blank, at levels above their limits of detection, estimated at 2.90 and 1.14 ng L−1, respectively. Overall, this work suggests airborne TWPs may be a potential inhalation hazard, particularly for individuals and wildlife who spend extended periods outdoors along busy roadways. Research on the bioavailability of TWP compounds from inhaled TWPs is needed to address exposure risk.

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We thank Jimmy Franklin at the USDA-ARS National Sedimentation Laboratory for help with sample preparation.


The FTIR microscope was obtained through a National Science Foundation grant (MRI-2116597). The stereomicroscope is part of the GlyCORE Imaging Core supported by an Institutional Development Award (IDeA) from the National Institutes of Health under the award P20GM103460. Chemical analysis was supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada [Discovery Grant to V. Yargeau (RGPIN-2020- 05878)].

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JVC conceptualized, supervised, and administered the project; BSO led the sampling campaign; BSO and MB analyzed the samples by optical and FTIR microscopy; MC analyzed the samples by mass spectrometry; MM helped with the sample preparation; and EB, MM, and VY helped with data analysis and interpretation. All authors agreed to the published version of the paper.

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Correspondence to James V. Cizdziel.

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The authors declare no conflict of interest. The funders had no role in the design of the study; in the collection, analyses, or interpretation of data; in the writing of the manuscript, or in the decision to publish the results. E.B. is the Editor-in-Chief and V.Y. and M.M. are Senior Editors for the Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology. The entire review process was blinded within the editorial system.

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Olubusoye, B.S., Cizdziel, J.V., Bee, M. et al. Toxic Tire Wear Compounds (6PPD-Q and 4-ADPA) Detected in Airborne Particulate Matter Along a Highway in Mississippi, USA. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 111, 68 (2023).

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