Panko JM, Chu J, Kreider ML, Unice KM. 2013. Measurement of airborne concentrations of tire and road wear particles in urban and rural areas of France, Japan, and the United States. Atmos Environ 72:192–199.
In addition to industrial facilities, fuel combustion, forest fires and dust erosion, exhaust and non-exhaust vehicle emissions are an important source of ambient air respirable particulate matter (PM10). Non-exhaust vehicle emissions are formed from wear particles of vehicle components such as brakes, clutches, chassis and tires. Although the non-exhaust particles are relatively minor contributors to the overall ambient air particulate load, reliable exposure estimates are few. In this study, a global sampling program was conducted to quantify tire and road wear particles (TRWP) in the ambient air in order to understand potential human exposures and the overall contribution of these particles to the PM10. The sampling was conducted in Europe, the United States and Japan and the sampling locations were selected to represent a variety of settings including both rural and urban core; and within each residential, commercial and recreational receptors. The air samples were analyzed using validated chemical markers for rubber polymer based on a pyrolysis technique. Results indicated that TRWP concentrations in the PM10 fraction were low with averages ranging from 0.05 to 0.70 μg m−3, representing an average PM10 contribution of 0.84%. The TRWP concentration in air was associated with traffic load and population density, but the trend was not statistically significant. Further, significant differences across days were not observed. This study provides a robust dataset to understand potential human exposures to airborne TRWP.