KOBE, Japan (Sept. 26, 2001) — A Japanese research team studying roadside pollution has linked heavy metal it has found to tire wear.
The team, led by Prof. Yoshiaki Tainosho at Kobe University, collected dust samples at 29 places along a national highway in eastern Kobe, and compared them with soil gathered at 120 parks in the same area, according to a report in Tokyo's Daily Yomiuri newspaper.
The group found that the roadside dust contained 43 times as much zinc, 29 times as much copper, 20 times as much chromium and nine times as much lead as the park soil, leading it to the conclusion that tire wear can significantly contribute to heavy metal pollution on roadsides. The team used an electron microscope to identify flakes of tire rubber, which were covered in heavy metal particles, said the group's report—the first of its kind in Japan, according to Mr. Tainosho.
The report was submitted at an annual meeting of the Geological Society of Japan, held in Kanazawa.