DETROIT– At a recent event with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Firestone Complete Auto Care and Firestone Racing reiterated their commitment to improving the environment through eliminating the use of lead wheel weights. The two members of the Bridgestone Americas (BSA) family joined the EPA at the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix to launch the agency's new National Lead-Free Wheel Weight Initiative.
"All of us who support this initiative are doing our part to have a positive impact on the environment," said John Sheerin, environmental director for BFS Retail & Commercial Operations, LLC, which operates 2,000 automotive service store locations, including Firestone Complete Auto Care, Tires Plus, ExpertTire and Wheel Works.
In late 2007, BFRC became the first major automotive service provider to announce the move away from the use of lead wheel weights. All of BFRC's approximately 2,000 automotive service store locations are switching to using more ecologically sensitive, non-toxic steel weights, replacing millions of lead wheel weights each year. In June 2008, Firestone Racing began using a non-lead product, the 3M Wheel Weight System, for all Indy Racing League IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights events.
Wheel weights are applied onto the wheels of vehicles when tires are installed to help the wheels balance properly and run smoothly. The weights can fall off and may get thrown onto the edges of roadways, possibly contaminating soil or water if they are made of lead or another environmentally harmful material.
"By taking part in the National Lead-Free Wheel Weight Initiative, EPA's partners are helping protect public health and the environment by phasing out the sale and installation of lead wheel weights and educating the public about the benefits of alternatives," said Susan Parker Bodine, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response.
For Bridgestone Americas, the change to non-lead wheel weights is just one of many efforts to protect and conserve the environment under the global "One Team, One Planet" program from Bridgestone Corporation, BSA's parent company.