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'EPA may try to ban lead wheel weights,' says TIA

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The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is considering a ban on lead wheel weights, according to Tire Industry Association (TIA) officials, who say the organization has not provided any scientific evidence that would justify such a move.

"We're looking for sound science to back it up," says TIA Director of Government Affairs Becky MacDicken.

MacDicken told moderntiredealer.com that the EPA is examining the possibility of a lead wheel weight ban based on an article that appeared in the October 2000 issue of a newsletter called Environmental Health Perspectives.

The article discussed a study that allegedly monitored the rates at which weights fall off vehicles and are ground into lead dust, which author Dr. Robert Root called "a major source of lead exposure."

The EPA "is not showing us any sound scientific reasons why it's afraid of lead weights," says MacDicken.

"The EPA is trying to figure out how (to ban lead weights). If the EPA tries to go with a voluntary ban, some wheel weight manufacturers won't comply because it may put them at a (competitive) disadvantage."

MacDicken says lead wheel weights are being banned in some areas in Europe, "so we'll probably follow suit in the U.S. But we're waiting for the data."

Zinc and steel weights, which have been proposed as more environmentally friendly alternatives, "are far more expensive than lead weights," she adds.

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