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Fine dust from car tires and brakes.. a bigger problem than we think!

Car tires and brakes emit more than half of all fine dust in Europe. An enormous number, and very bad for the environment. Fine dust from tires ends up in the river and the sea. The question is whether tire wear fine dust also causes health problems. And can we do something about it ourselves. For instance, is it possible to remove tire wear fine dust from the air with an air purifier?

What is tire wear fine dust?

Fine dust from car tires can best be described as small particles consisting of heavy metals, water, carbon, and a wide variety of organic substances. They arise because your car tires rub against the road surface while driving.

Car tires emit a lot of fine dust. Recent research by Emission Analytics shows that tire wear causes up to 1000 (!) Times more fine dust than modern combustion engines.

Health problems caused by fine dust from car tires

Tire wear fine dust not only causes environmental damage, it also has damaging effects on your health. The fine dust from car tires ends up in your airflow and that is not good for your wellbeing. Long-term exposure to fine dust leads to lung complaints, heart complaints and has also been linked to diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

In addition to fine dust, tire wear also releases microplastic into the air. Microplastic from tire wear is also very harmful to your airways.

You can measure fine dust in your car with a fine dust meter

Will fine dust follow the example of the asbestos crisis?

In the 1980s there was a lot to do about asbestos. People became aware of how unhealthy it was and complained to the government. Finally, in 1993, asbestos was banned for processing and storage.

It is only a matter of time before a national fine dust crisis erupts. The first signs are already there: in December 2019, the FNV trade union set up a fine dust complaints point for Schiphol employees. In a week, more than four hundred (!) Reports were made. Since then, the Dutch Cabinet has been working on a new fine dust standard. Will the past repeat itself?

How do you protect yourself from tire wear fine dust in the air?

There are a number of effective ways to protect yourself against tire wear fine dust. Do you live close to a highway or in a big city? Then we recommend that you use an air purifier at home. These purifiers remove fine dust from car tires from the air using a HEPA filter. Extreme Air Products’ anti-tire wear air purifiers have a filter effectiveness of 99.99%. The EDC650 air purifier is the best buy in this category.

You can also protect yourself against fine dust in your car and on the street. In the car, for example, by adding a HEPA filter in the ventilation system. And outside on the street with a HEPA filter mouth mask.

Your electric car is not the solution against fine dust from tires

‘The positive effects of your electric car on air quality are overestimated.’, is what the Volkskrant writes. This has everything to do with the fact that electric cars (EVs) are on average 25% heavier than cars with a combustion engine. For this reason, tires from EVs wear out faster. This leads to more tire wear and fine dust emissions. EVs do score better in the field of fine dust from brakes. It’s lower than petrol cars, as EVs mainly use the engine to slow down.

What does the government say about car tire wear?

The Dutch government does not yet have an action plan to combat fine dust from car tires, unlike the British government. In July last year, they already announced that they were going to take measures against car tire emissions. The British want to realize these measures by making new tire standards and requirements.

The UK government is also calling on the industry to develop an emissions measurement for car tire wear. In the future, this should lead to a new international standard for tire and brake wear.

What can you do yourself against fine dust emissions from tires?

Limit the fine dust emissions of your car by driving economically. Practical tips that Environmental Center (source) gives include:

  • Shift to a higher gear as early as possible
  • Drive at a constant speed as much as possible
  • Rather drive 100 than 130 km per hour

Need advice or more information?

By measuring fine dust, you gain insight into the air quality of your environment. You also determine the effectiveness of your air purifier. View our product page about the fine dust meter or read more about the fine dust meter in our extensive advice. Do you have any further questions or would you like free personal advice? Call +31 20 6464028 or go directly to our range of fine dust meters:

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