In an effort to protect drinking water, lead wheel weights, commonly used to balance vehicle tires, will be phased out in California by the end of next year, reports the Los Angeles Times.
A court settlement finalized this week ends a lawsuit filed in May by the Oakland-based Center for Environmental Health against Chrysler and the three largest makers of lead wheel weights. Lead wheel weights were banned by the European Union in 2005 and are being phased out in Japan and Korea.
Here in the U.S. the EPA is sponsoring a voluntary initiative to reduce the use of lead wheel weights, and some are hoping that this development in California will speed the process along. The Center for Environmental Health has argued that the car parts are responsible for putting 500,000 pounds of lead into land and water (including drinking water) in California each year.
Chrysler and other major automakers, as well as Goodyear and other tire makers, say they are in the process of phasing out lead weights anyway. Since the parts cost less than 50 cents each, it shouldn't cause major upheaval in the business, even though replacements cost up to 30% more.
Before today you might never have given a thought to wheel weights, but it's good to know that more work is being done to get the lead out of the environment.
Enter your city or zip code to get your local temperature and air quality and find local green food and recycling resources near you.