TIA lead wheel weight survey yields troubling results

March 30, 2005

"People are less educated than we thought" about the proper disposal of lead wheel weights, Tire Industry Association (TIA) Director of Government Affairs Becky MacDicken told moderntiredealer.com this afternoon.

In a recent survey, TIA asked members about their lead wheel weight disposal policies. "We're trying to figure out where lead is going."

TIA discovered that "a good half (of respondents) are recycling (weights) in proper venues" like scrap metal recycling facilities, according to MacDicken.

"The other half are giving used weights to Boy Scouts, fishermen and hunters," which can create environmental hazards, she says.

TIA officials plan to meet with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) representatives to discuss a joint public outreach program that will promote proper wheel weight disposal.

"It's going to take us a little while to figure out what we want to do."

The EPA is trying to determine if lead wheel weights pose an ecological threat, EPA official Janette Peterson said earlier this month.

There have been rumblings that the agency may propose a ban on lead wheel weights.

"A ban would be the most extreme" way to deal with the issue, said Peterson. "There are a million options open to us."

The EPA is partially basing its investigation on a five-year-old study that claimed to monitor the rate at which lead weights fall off vehicles and are ground into dust.