Michelin, Pirelli to Be Fined for Selling Toxic Tyres in Taiwan
Yesterday, the Consumer Protection Committee of Taiwan (CPC) released the “2018 Motorbike Tyres Quality Test Report”. As it turned out, 9 out of 11 samples did not pass the test, especially the PAHs test (PAHs is a toxic material), including world-famous tyre giants Dunlop, Michelin and Pirelli. That is to say, the PAHs percentage inside the sample tyres all exceed humans’ tolerance standard. With that said, all the tyre makers having not passed the test will be fined by Taiwanese government if they don’t improve the product quality to meet stands within given time.
A famous motorway exit in Taipei where people outside the city flooding in on scooters. / Credit: M. CHAK
Tyres are the most expendable parts on a vehicle. No matter how good the they are, the tyres will be worn out gradually. On a motorbike or a scooter—somewhere with no air conditioning—the riders breathe in everything directly. In this case, as the tyres being toxic, with friction and heat, the PAHs will be released into the air, straightly “recycled” by rider’s respiratory system.
I know this sounds boring, but bear with me.
No, I'm not going to start a chemistry lecture.
Following are excerpts of a detailed report over PAHs from the Department of Health and Human Services, USA:
“Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are a class of chemicals that occur naturally in coal, crude oil, and gasoline. They also are produced when coal, oil, gas, wood, garbage, and tobacco are burned. PAHs generated from these sources can bind to or form small particles in the air. High-temperature cooking will form PAHs in meat and in other foods.”
“People are usually exposed to mixtures of PAHs. Breathing air contaminated with motor vehicle exhaust, cigarette smoke, wood smoke, or fumes from asphalt roads are common ways exposure occurs. People take in PAHs when they eat grilled or charred meats or foods or foods on which PAH particles have settled from the air. After PAHs are swallowed, breathed in, or in some cases, passed through the skin, the body converts PAHs into breakdown products called metabolites that pass out of the body in the urine and faeces.“
“Human health effects from environmental exposure to low levels of PAHs are unknown. Large amounts of naphthalene in air can irritate eyes and breathing passages. Workers who have been exposed to large amounts of naphthalene from skin contact with the liquid form and from breathing naphthalene vapour have developed blood and liver abnormalities. Several of the PAHs and some specific mixtures of PAHs are considered to be cancer-causing chemicals.”
In short, PAHs is a toxic material which may lead to cancers. There shall be no conspiracy behind the report for the tyres were tested to standards same as what the EU tests with.
Street of Taipei
Taiwan has a population of around 23 million. According to the statistics from the Ministry of Interior, until 2014 there were over 14 million registered scooters and motorbikes in Taiwan, and this figure will double in 6 years. The most common transportation method in Taiwan is by scooters. Imagine what would happen if most scooter tyres are bloody toxic?
Xinyi district, Taipei City, Taiwan
Furthermore, if even companies like Dunlop, Michelin and Pirelli sell dangerous, toxic tyres, what would other less known companies do? Cost reduction is never the only way to make a fortune. Just remember, tyre companies: by not sacrificing consumer’s health and safety, you do earn more.
Click here for the original press release. (It’s in traditional Chinese, though)
Source: Consumer Protection Committee, Executive Yuan, Taiwan (R.O.C) (中華民國行政院消費者保護會) / Bureau of Standards, Metrology & Inspection of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Taiwan (R.O.C) (中華民國經濟部標準檢驗局)