High levels of tire wear particles in soils along low traffic roads

Traffic pollution has been linked to high levels of metals and organic contaminants in road-side soils, largely due to abrasion of tires, brake pads and the road surface. Although several studies have demonstrated correlations between different pollutants and various traffic variables, they mainly focused on roads with medium to high traffic density (>30,000 vehicles per day). In this study the authors have focused on investigating tire wear particles and road-related metals (zinc, copper, lead, chromium, nickel, and the metalloid arsenic) in the soils of low traffic roads in rural areas (650–14,250 vehicles per day). Different explanatory factors were investigated, such as traffic density, speed, % heavy vehicles, organic matter content, annual precipitation, soil types and roadside slope profiles. The results show high levels of tire wear particles, from 2000 to 26,400 mg/kg (0.2–2.6 % tire wear in d.w. soil), which is up to five times higher compared to previously reported values in roadside soils of high traffic density areas. No significant relationship was found between tire wear particles and traffic variables, or between tire wear particles and metals. The concentrations of metals were comparable to previous studies of high traffic areas of Norway, as well as both urban and rural soils in other countries. For the metals, all factors together explained 45 % of the variation observed, with traffic density (11 %) and organic matter content (10 %) as the most important single variables. The analysis of tire wear particles in soils using Pyrolysis Gas chromatography Mass Spectrometry is challenging, and the results presented demonstrate the need for pretreatment to remove organic matter from the samples before analysis.


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  • Accession Number: 01893966
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Sep 22 2023 9:08AM