Tyre wear particles: an abundant yet widely unreported microplastic?
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Owing to their physical and chemical properties, particles generated by the abrasion of tyre tread against road surfaces, or tyre wear particles, are recognised as microplastics. Recent desk-based studies suggest tyre wear to be a major contributor of microplastic emissions to the environment. This study aimed to quantify tyre wear in roadside drains and the natural environment near to a major road intersection. Tyre particles were identified by visual identification and a subsample confirmed as tyre wear by GC-MS using N-cyclohexyl-2-benzothiazolamine (NCBA) as a marker. The abundance of tyre wear within roadside drains was greater in areas associated with increased braking and accelerating than that with high traffic densities (p = < 0.05). Tyre particle abundance in the natural environment ranged from 0.6 ± 0.33 to 65 ± 7.36 in 5 mL of material, with some evidence of decline with distance from the road. This study offers preliminary data regarding the generation and abundance of this under-researched microplastic.
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