New laws now make it illegal to sell, manufacture or install lead wheel weights in many states. Violations can be subject to significant penalties of up to $2,500 per day per violation. Wheel weights made entirely of lead or zinc and earth on the pavement have high potential effects on human health and the environment compared to steel wheel weights. Steel wheel weights are the preferred alternative due to their relatively low toxicity and lower environmental impact of production. The reduced impact on the environment and human health, combined with the high possibility that steel wheel weights are made from recycled materials, make steel wheel weights the best overall alternative. “Most national retailers want a lead-free solution. They don`t want to mix between lead supply and lead-free supply, they just want to have a wheel weight type,” Vanderheyden says. But the weights of lead wheels are often used by local and regional tire dealers. “It`s a good material for the weight of a wheel, and it`s easy for a technician to work with it,” vanderheyden says. Car batteries, air conditioning capacitors and coolers, electric pool motors, refrigerator compressors, automotive compressors, starters, alternators, kitchen sinks and kitchen utensils made of stainless steel, lead roof trim and wheel weight, zinc die castings and MORE. The market has many lead alternatives available, according to Parker.
In addition, Hofmann Power Weight`s premium weights are used by operating companies such as Chrysler, Ford, BMW and Nissan in their U.S. manufacturing plants, Parker said. According to the California EPA, steel wheel weights are the best alternative to lead because steel has less impact on the environment and human health, and tends to be made from recycled materials (click here). As a founding member of the EPA-sponsored National Lead-Free Wheel Weight Initiative, Plombco is committed to significantly reducing the amount of lead used in the manufacture of wheel weights. For this reason, Plombco recommends the use of lead-free wheel weights. The EPA estimates that 13% of wheel weight decreases each year, crunches under the weight of other vehicles and is flushed down the drain, or ends up in landfills after roads are cleaned. The average weight of 2.5 ounces could bring up to 2,000 tons of lead into the environment per year, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Lead weights have not been identified by the EPA as the cause of a specific case of pollution poisoning, but the element is dangerous enough that it is important to remove it from the roads, said Susan Bodine, deputy administrator of the agency`s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. Washington was the first in 2011. The latest is Maryland, which passed a lead wheel weight bill in May 2017. Other states with bans are California, Illinois, Maine, Vermont, Minnesota and New York.
DETROIT — The small lead weights attached to the outer rim of your vehicle`s wheels may be the largest source of lead released into the environment each year, and they may soon be on the verge of extinction. Hennessy and Wegmann offer their customers recycling programs. Both manufacturers accept zinc, steel and lead weights, and stores do not have to sort their used wheel weights to participate in their programs. “Lead has been removed from everything,” he said, citing paint, gasoline and fishing weights as examples. “We believe that with training and understanding, the market will continue to evolve towards lead-free alternatives.” Traditionally, wheel balancing weights have been made of high-density lead as it offers a low price and easy manufacturing. However, for environmental and public health reasons, the use of lead is banned in many states and jurisdictions. Europe (EEC) banned the use of lead in wheel balances in 2005, and Japanese car manufacturers have not used it for almost a decade. In California, lead wheel weights are defined by a new law, California Health and Safety Code Sections 25215.6-25215.7, like all weights containing more than 0.1% lead. The law entered into force on 1 January 2010 and applies regardless of whether the wheel weights are installed in a new vehicle or removed and reinstalled when balancing the wheels. Cars and trucks manufactured and sold in California as of January 1, 2010 must have a lead-free weight. Vehicles manufactured in 2009 or earlier must be converted to unleaded weight each time they change tires or rebalance.
To avoid having to stock lead-free and lead-free alternatives, domestic retailers have replaced most of their inventory with lead-free wheel weights. Small gray weights the size of a little finger are used to balance the wheels so that they do not vibrate when turning and the tires do not wear out badly. Don Vanderheyden, chief marketing officer of Hennessy Industries Inc., says that while lead has become a lower priority for the EPA, the market will eventually adopt lead-free wheel weights. Commodity prices for lead, zinc and steel have risen over the past year, with lead recording the most dramatic increases. The price of lead rose about 9 percent at the beginning of the second quarter of 2017 and about 11 percent in the third quarter, vanderheyden said. Hennessy`s Bada brand offers steel and lead clip weights and adhesive weights. “When dealing with domestic retailers, we need a wide range of steel. We also have a lot of traditional distribution in the U.S.
and still use lead, so we`re very divided between the two materials,” vanderheyden says. We know a lot about lead exposure and we know what the routes of exposure are,” Bodine said. “The fact that we have these huge percentages of the entire distribution chain sign up (to phase out lead wheel weights) is a huge victory, and 2011 is not that far away.” As the industry moves further and further away from lead wheel weights, Plombco continues to develop innovative and energy-efficient processes that incorporate environmentally friendly materials to produce safer wheel weight products. The eight states that have banned lead wheel weights account for nearly a third of the wheel weight market, according to Gregory Parker, marketing director of Wegmann automotive USA Inc. Parker says the wheel weight recycling stream of the past, which was made up of 100 percent lead, has disappeared because electricity is now mixed between lead, zinc and steel. In 2009, it seemed that the weights of the lead wheels were intended to recall the tire workshop. In August of the same year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said it would pursue a nationwide ban on the manufacture and distribution of lead wheel weights. But as of 2017, lead wheel weights remain legal in 42 states. “Manufacturers like Wegmann are constantly preparing with additional lead-free capabilities if lead is to be banned nationwide.” Catalysts (www.local10.com/news/local/2022/05/04/south-florida-business-owners-continue-to-battle-catalytic-converter-thefts/) Of the three materials used for wheel weights, lead is more malleable and dense than steel and zinc. In the absence of federal regulation, eight states have decided to pass laws banning lead wheel weights to address environmental concerns. Steel and zinc are offered as alternatives to lead.
Although steel is the preferred alternative, zinc is also available for those who prefer the “traditional style” of wheel weights, and for some specialty products. Note that zinc ranks 74th on CERCLA`s priority list for hazardous substances (after other substances such as nickel #53 and methane #66). The Environmental Protection Agency will recognize on Friday a group of tire dealers (including Wal-Mart and Costco), government-affiliated organizations (including the Postal Service and the Air Force) and automakers that have agreed to phase out lead wheel weights by 2011. Lead weights are already banned in the European Union and in some Asian countries where larger steel or zinc alloy weights are used.