Everything wears down, or breaks down eventually, often into dust. But I think many of us live with the misconception that dust is a harmless mix of pollen, human and animal hairs, textile fibers, paper fibers, minerals from outdoor soil, human skin cells.
I didn’t know for example, that a busy road with 25,000 vehicles traveling on it each day will generate around nine kilograms of tyre rubber dust per kilometer. In the USA, about 600,000 tons of tyre dust comes off vehicles every year. It is estimated that road dust from tyres, brake pads and emissions makes up about 33% of air pollution.
But shoes soles will also wear down and create their own dust. Obviously by comparison to cars its a minute quantity I know, but can we none the less make shoe rubber and the dust created even less contaminating?
Because what is rubber dust made of and what will the consequences be of hundreds of years of accumulation be?
Is tire dust even harmful?
With rain tyre dust gets washed into our waterways where its toxic organic particles cause mutations and kill the aquatic wildlife. While in dry environments the inorganic particles of rubber dust, such as lead and zinc so small are blown up into the air and enter deep into our lungs and I can imagine cause respiratory and lung diseases.
Can we innovate all rubber compounds for car tires and footwear soles to benefit the environment instead of damaging it?