• Aug 22, 2008

Environmentally-friendly California is putting an end to lead balancing weights on wheels and tires. The heavy metal neurotoxin is polluting the state's ground water supplies, according to the Center for Environmental Health. The group claims that more than 500,000 pounds of lead weights are inadvertently flung off wheels each year, making it the state's leading cause of environmental lead contamination. Under a court settlement approved this week, Chrysler and the three largest lead weight wheel manufacturers will all phase out lead in wheel weights by the end of 2009. While California is taking the initiative in this country, we are still years behind the European Union, which banned lead weights in 2005. With lead on the chopping block, future wheel weights will be made from either steel or zinc alloy. Those metal weights are larger and more expensive to produce than lead, but much safer for Mother Earth.

[Source: Business Week]



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  • 53 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Right wing nuts are the worst America has to offer. Wish all of them would go to Iraq.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Someone hit me upside the head for typing "weight's".

      Got punctuation happy. :)
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'd remind the tree huggers that lead comes from the ground in the first place. So what if it ends up back there.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Mother Nature is no stranger to lead. Where do you think lead comes from? Atom smashers? We get it out of the ground.

      At the very least, glue-on lead weights should still be allowed. They almost never fly off.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Considering how cheap zinc alloy (or really even a small chunk of steel) is it's kind of insane that they were still made out of lead...I had just assumed it was steel.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Density my friend, density.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yep, the only alternative (from a physical property standpoint) would be pure gold. Yeah, lead is pretty amazing in terms of cheapness and density. There's a reason why it's still widely used despite its toxicity.
      • 6 Years Ago
      For environmental reasons, it's best to replace lead weights with portions of Al Gore's brain which is known to be decidedly dense and heavy.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yes Al Gore is smart because while he has you all losing sleep about global warming he is profiting off if it with his carbon credits scheme. And he still gets to live in a huge house and fly around in private jets. Now that SUV's are out of fashion he will have a better view of the road out his 10 mpg limo.
        • 6 Years Ago
        That's because he's smart.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yeah. This wouldn't happen with the airheads we put into office instead.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Interesting read, thank you.
      • 6 Years Ago
      !
      • 6 Years Ago
      ...Aren't we about due for another big San Andeas earthquake? These people need some real problems to worry about...

      Q: Where does lead come from?
      A: THE F***ING GROUND!!! (AKA, EARTH!)
        • 6 Years Ago
        Q: Where should lead not go?
        A: Your F***ING GROUNDWATER SUPPLY!!!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Are these popular in the US?

      I'm from the UK and pretty much have never seen anything like that pictured on the wheels over here...

      I've just searched google and can't find any sort of FAQ on the purpose or them or anything
        • 6 Years Ago
        Like it says in the article, most newer cars use the lead balancing weights that attach to the inside of the rim, out of sight. But balancing weights like the one pictured are common on older vehicles. I think my '01 Focus has them. In any case, their purpose is to balance the wheel for a smoother ride, compensating for imperfections in the tire and rim.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Standard enviro hype lets do some math. If that amount of lead was comming off each year that would amount to a third of all cars registered in CA have all four wheel out of balance. 23.4 million registered cars in 2000 so i round up to 30 million for 8 years difference. 500000lbs = 8,000,000 oz of lead. On average most tires need 1 to 1.5 oz to balance I will round up to 2. 8oz per car with 30,000,000 million cars in one year. Now granted I came up with these numbers in 15 min if I am wrong please forgive me. I think this is a load of bull.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Businesses might have been tossing them in the garbage in the past but with the price of lead these days, any place doing any kind of volume is saving them for the local scrap metal dealer. Hell if there's really thousands of pounds of weights on California roadways, someone could be making a good living off collecting them.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Not to mention, in my ten years in the buisness I have maybe seen a HANDFUL of cars who's weight's were 'inadvertantly flung off'.

        It just doesn't happen.

        Now I DO AGREE that maybe the businesses removing the weights to replance tires or rebalance wheels are not disposing of them properly, that may very well be the case and that makes that number look alot better.

        Not right, but better.
          • 6 Years Ago
          "Now I DO AGREE that maybe the businesses removing the weights to replance tires or rebalance wheels are not disposing of them properly, that may very well be the case and that makes that number look alot better."

          I think you are 100% correct on all counts.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Reducing lead... yes, that sounds like it could be associated with liberal politics.. I must HATE it!

        I've got news for you, responding to news only with polarized partisan knee-jerk reflexes is a surefire way to keep your government happy. Keeps you from straining your gray matter :/
        • 6 Years Ago
        At the shop where I worked, all out used balancing weights were thrown in the "regular" garbage. Odds are good that that's what happens to them in most shops. So they end up in dumps.

        Lead poisoning is a serious problem, but maybe they have the wrong source. Those weights are a pain to take off with the proper tool. I can't imagine they fly off very often!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Environmentalism is such a weird "religion". The way people talk about "mother earth" and global warming is... creepy.
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