, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 13–21 | Cite as

Chronic toxicity of tire and road wear particles to water- and sediment-dwelling organisms

  • Julie M. PankoEmail author
  • Marisa L. Kreider
  • Britt L. McAtee
  • Christopher Marwood


Tire and road wear particles (TRWP) consist of a complex mixture of rubber, and pavement released from tires during use on road surfaces. Subsequent transport of the TRWP into freshwater sediments has raised some concern about the potential adverse effects on aquatic organisms. Previous studies have shown some potential for toxicity for tread particles, however, toxicity studies of TRWP collected from a road simulator system revealed no acute toxicity to green algae, daphnids, or fathead minnows at concentrations up to 10,000 mg/kg under conditions representative of receiving water bodies. In this study, the chronic toxicity of TRWP was evaluated in four aquatic species. Test animals were exposed to whole sediment spiked with TRWP at concentrations up to 10,000 mg/kg sediment or elutriates from spiked sediment. Exposure to TRWP spiked sediment caused mild growth inhibition in Chironomus dilutus but had no adverse effect on growth or reproduction in Hyalella azteca. Exposure to TRWP elutriates resulted in slightly diminished survival in larval Pimephales promelas but had no adverse effect on growth or reproduction in Ceriodaphnia dubia. No other endpoints in these species were affected. These results, together with previous studies demonstrating no acute toxicity of TRWP, indicate that under typical exposure conditions TRWP in sediments pose a low risk of toxicity to aquatic organisms.


Tire Particle Chironomus Hyalella Daphnia Pimephales Sediment Toxicity 



The work presented here was funded by the Tire Industry Project, an international consortium of 11 tire manufacturers collaborating to understand the human health and environmental impact of tires, under the oversight of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. We would also like to acknowledge Klaus-Peter Gläser at Bundestalt für Straßenwesen (BASt), Leonard Sweet, and Nautilus Environmental, LLC for their technical expertise and/or laboratory assistance.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julie M. Panko
    • 1
    Email author
  • Marisa L. Kreider
    • 1
  • Britt L. McAtee
    • 1
  • Christopher Marwood
    • 2
  1. 1.ChemRiskPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.NovaTox Inc.GuelphCanada

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