Environmental labeling of car tires--toxicity to Daphnia magna can be used as a screening method

Chemosphere. 2005 Feb;58(5):645-51. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2004.08.103.


Car tires contain several water-soluble compounds that can leach into water and have toxic effects on aquatic organisms. Due to tire wear, 10,000 tonnes of rubber particles end up along the Swedish roads every year. This leads to a diffuse input of emissions of several compounds. Emissions of polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are of particular concern. PAHs are ingredients of the high aromatic oil (HA oil) that is used in the rubber as a softener and as a filler. The exclusion of HA oils from car tires has started, and an environmental labeling of tires could make HA oils obsolete. The toxicity to Daphnia magna from 12 randomly selected car tires was tested in this study. Rubber from the tread of the tires was grated into small pieces, to simulate material from tire wear, and the rubber was equilibrated with dilution water for 72 h before addition of test organisms. The 24-h EC50s of the rubber pieces ranged from 0.29 to 32 gl-1, and the 48-h EC50s ranged from 0.0625 to 2.41 gl-1. Summer tires were more toxic than winter tires. After the 48-h exposure, the daphnids were exposed to UV-light for 2 h, to determine if the tires contained compounds that were phototoxic. After UV-activation the EC50s ranged from 0.0625 to 0.38 gl-1. Four of the 12 tires had a very distinct photoactivation, with a toxicity increase of >10 times. This study has shown that the used method for toxicity testing with Daphnia magna according to ISO 6341 could be used as a basis for environmental labeling of car tires.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Daphnia / drug effects*
  • Environmental Pollutants / analysis
  • Environmental Pollutants / toxicity*
  • Motor Vehicles*
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons / analysis
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons / toxicity*
  • Rubber / chemistry*
  • Toxicity Tests / methods*


  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons
  • Rubber