Canada To Prohibit Importing and Manufacturing Lead Wheel Weights
Trade Update • March 13, 2023T
he Government of Canada has announced new regulations prohibiting the importing and manufacturing of lead wheel weights containing more than 0.1% of lead in weight. The regulations will come into effect on February 3, 2024, so importers and manufacturers can have time to transition to safer alternatives such as steel or zinc.
Through the new regulations, Canada is delivering on its commitment to protecting Canadians and the environment from harmful chemicals and pollutants. It is estimated that 110 tonnes of lead from wheel weights are released into the environment along Canadian roads every year. Any vehicles with existing lead wheel weights must have them replaced before they can enter or be driven on Canadian roads.
Lead wheel weights, which are typically found on vehicles for balancing purposes, are made of lead, a material that is known to be highly toxic. Lead can easily move from soil into water sources and contaminate them, potentially leading to health problems for those who drink or use contaminated water. It can also move into food sources, such as crops and livestock, which can cause serious illnesses if ingested. In addition, when lead enters the air, it can be inhaled and ingested indirectly through dust particles which may cause long-term damage to human health.
In place of lead, alternative options such as steel or zinc will now be used in new cars sold in Canada. Steel is a much safer option as it does not accumulate in living organisms like lead does and has far fewer negative effects on health and ecosystems if it accidentally enters the environment due to its low solubility in water and rapid precipitation out of air streams. Zinc is also becoming more popular due to its ability to remain tightly bound in soils making it less likely to leach out into water sources or enter food sources through surface runoff or irrigation cycles like lead can do.
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