Why tires — not tailpipes — are spewing more pollution from your cars

July 9, 2023 | By Kasha Patel | The Washington Post

For decades, scientists and health officials have warned drivers of the harmful pollutants coming from tailpipes. But as car exhaust systems have become cleaner, pollution linked to heart and lung disease has increased from a different source: tires and brakes.

In fact, wear and tear on tires and brakes have been shown to produce increasingly more particle pollution, by mass, than car exhaust systems did in several real-world and test scenarios. Some of the particles are large enough to see with our eyes. Others are fine particles (known as PM 2.5, with diameters up to 2.5 microns) and ultrafine particles (known as PM 0.1, with diameters of 100 nanometers), which can enter through our bloodstream and harm our organs.

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