"Give Water a Brake!" Copper Ban Petition

Background

Traditional brake pads are comprised of some really nasty materials including asbestos, lead, antimony (it's an element) and copper. Every time you hit the brake pedal when you're driving, these materials are worn off the pads in the form of brake dust. This eventually winds up in the environment, contaminating our precious water resources.

Environmental Impact

An anadromous fish, born in fresh water, spends most of its life in the sea and returns to fresh water to spawn. Salmon, smelt, shad, striped bass and sturgeon are common examples.

Many chemicals in polluted runoff, such as copper, directly harm salmon and other fish. Copper interferes with the ability of salmon to smell. They need their sense of smell to avoid being eaten by predators, navigate back to their natal streams to spawn and to find mates.

The consequence has been a massive decrease in the salmon population.

“We’ve learned that adult Coho salmon are dying prematurely in large proportions when they return from the ocean to spawn in Puget Sound urban streams,” said Jay Davis, an environmental toxicologist for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. “Although we don’t know the precise cause of these die-offs, the most likely explanation is toxic chemicals in stormwater runoff.” Source: WA Dept. of Ecology

The most common way toxic chemicals get into the environment is through polluted surface water runoff that flows off of residential, commercial and industrial areas. When rain hits roofs, roads, and other hard surfaces in developed areas, it picks up and carries toxic chemicals with it. This polluted water then runs into storm drains and goes, mostly untreated, directly into area lakes, streams and rivers.

Toxic pollutants can threaten environmental and human health. Most don’t break down easily, and they stay in the environment a long time. They can enter waterways and wind up in the bodies of fish, seals, orca whales and even people.

Current Developments

States such as California and Washington have already passed legislation that will eventually remove all copper from brake pads, and in turn, our waterways. Rhode Island and New York have introduced similar bills that have not yet been passed. These new bills will eventually rid our precious waterways of the nasty and harmful contaminates that are constantly being deposited into our environment due to traditional brake dust.

On March 19, 2010, in Washington State, the first state to begin the phasing out of hazardous material from brake pads, Governor Christine Gregoire signed into law Senate Bill (SB)6557. This bill, sponsored by Senator Kevin Ranker, ensures that by the beginning of 2014, the sale of brake pads containing more than trace amounts of asbestos, cadmium, chromium, lead, and mercury will be banned. By 2021, pads are to contain no more than 5% copper, and the bill promises that it will set up an advisory committee to determine whether it is feasible to lower the mandate to no more than 0.5% copper in later years.

On September 27, 2010, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a similar bill into law - Senate Bill (SB)346. This bill promises to phase copper out of vehicle brake pads to make California’s waterways safer for salmon and other species, save the state billions on environmental clean-up costs, and require manufacturers to to provide safe and reliable brake pads for consumers. The bill, which was written by Senator Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego), demands the phasing out of copper in brake pads to no more than 5% by 2021, and no more than 0.5% by 2025.

Rhode Island and New York have introduced similar bills that have not yet been passed.

What We're Doing

The Earthgarage team has created the "Give Water a Brake!" petition. Our goal is to pressure the rest of the U.S. and our neighbors in Canada to get on board and pass legislation that will begin phasing out hazardous materials in brake pads.

Untitled

Give Water a Brake!

Help us ban toxic materials in brake pads in the U.S. and Canada.

SIGN NOW

Give Water a Brake!

Traditional brake pads are made of some really nasty materials including asbestos, lead, antimony and copper. Every time a driver steps on the brakes, these materials come off the pads in the form of brake dust. When these toxic materials are released into the air, they work their way into the water table and contaminate the water supply for animals and humans alike.

California and Washington have already passed legislation that will eventually remove all copper from brake pads. Rhode Island and New York have introduced similar bills that have not yet been passed.

We believe this legislation should be in effect throughout the U.S. and Canada. Together we can put pressure on our legislators to remove these toxic materials from the food we eat and the air we breathe.

Sign the petition and tell legislators to give us a brake that won't destroy the environment.

This petition initiative is sponsored by Eco-Stop, the only copper-free brake pad currently on the market. We are also working with leading water resources and other environmental groups. Together we can make a difference. After you sign, be sure to spread the word to your friends and family.

Thanks!

The Earthgarage Team

By providing your email address, Green Automotive Alliance, LLC may email you company updates and announcements. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Help us ban toxic materials in brake pads in the U.S. and Canada.

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A Brief History of Copper in Brake Pads

Most automobiles manufactured and sold in the U.S. had drum brakes front and rear into the early 1970’s. The majority of those drum brake linings were asbestos. A few were made with brass or copper; the ones with copper had very low copper content.

The early disc brake pads also were asbestos and contained very little copper. Due to concerns over environmental issues the industry began to move away from asbestos in the late 1970’s and into the 1980’s. The next generation of products to gain favor as asbestos replacement were semi-metallic brake pads. They contained large quantities of steel fiber and iron powder but almost no copper.

In the 1980’s while most of the North American manufacturers were manufacturing without copper the European and Asian manufacturers were using products that contained large amounts of copper, in excess of 12%. During this time the amount of import cars sold in America was increasing and the amount of copper in brake pads was increasing.

It would be safe to say that copper in brake pads was largely an imported concept. Today, half the cars sold in America are foreign brands.

Despite the fact that a large percentage of new cars are sold with brakes containing copper, brakes on new cars and dealer service only represent 10% of the overall market. The majority of brakes sold in the U.S. considering OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) and Aftermarket still have no copper. It is estimated that between 60% and & 70% of the brakes sold in the U.S. have no copper.

In the late 1990’s products containing ceramic fibers began to gain favor with the OEMs and in the aftermarket. Copper appeared to be the silver bullet that makes ceramic fibers work well in brake pads. As the aftermarket began to emulate the OEM products and ceramic brakes gained favor the amount of copper in brake pads increased. There is a financial incentive to promote ceramic brake pads as they sell for a premium above semi-metallic.

Most brakes sold in the U.S. don’t contain copper; the ones that do don’t have to contain copper. There is ample technology to replace the copper in the 30% of the brakes that have copper or use semi-metallic to replace the copper containing brakes.

What You Can Do

Sign our petition using our handy form on this page. Let your friends know by posting on Facebook and Twitter.  If you publish a blog, please grab our petition embed code at earthgarage.com/blog. It's on the right side.  If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact us at info@earthgarage.com.

When you're in the market for a new set of brake pads, ask for copper-free pads!

Links

Sustainable Conservation

Puget Sound Partnership

State of Washington/Dept. of Ecology

California’s governor signs Sen. Christine Kehoe’s bill to remove copper from vehicle brake pads

Rhode Island pdf

New York Times Wheels Blog

 

 

 

 

 

Give Water a Brake!

Help us ban toxic materials in brake pads in the U.S. and Canada.

SIGN NOW

Give Water a Brake!

Traditional brake pads are made of some really nasty materials including asbestos, lead, antimony and copper. Every time a driver steps on the brakes, these materials come off the pads in the form of brake dust. When these toxic materials are released into the air, they work their way into the water table and contaminate the water supply for animals and humans alike.

California and Washington have already passed legislation that will eventually remove all copper from brake pads. Rhode Island and New York have introduced similar bills that have not yet been passed.

We believe this legislation should be in effect throughout the U.S. and Canada. Together we can put pressure on our legislators to remove these toxic materials from the food we eat and the air we breathe.

Sign the petition and tell legislators to give us a brake that won't destroy the environment.

This petition initiative is sponsored by Eco-Stop, the only copper-free brake pad currently on the market. We are also working with leading water resources and other environmental groups. Together we can make a difference. After you sign, be sure to spread the word to your friends and family.

Thanks!

The Earthgarage Team

By providing your email address, Green Automotive Alliance, LLC may email you company updates and announcements. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Help us ban toxic materials in brake pads in the U.S. and Canada.

Share this with your friends:

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