A Deep Dive into the Complex Chemical Mixture and Toxicity of Tire Wear Particle Leachate in Fathead Minnow


The ecological impact of tire wear particles in aquatic ecosystems is a growing environmental concern. In this study, we combined toxicity testing, using fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas) embryos, with non-target high-resolution liquid chromatography Orbitrap mass spectrometry to characterize the toxicity and chemical mixture of organic chemicals associated with tire particle (TP) leachates. We assessed: (a) exposure to TP leachates after leaching for 1-, 3- and 10-days, and (b) the effect of the presence and absence of small tire particulates in the leachates. We observed a decrease in embryonic heart rates, hatching success, and lengths, as well as an increase in the number of embryos with severe deformities and diminished eye and body pigmentation, upon exposure to the leachates. Overall, there was a pattern whereby we observed more toxicity in the 10-day leachates, and greater toxicity in unfiltered leachates. Redundancy analysis showed that several benzothiazoles and aryl-amines were correlated with the toxic effects observed in the embryos. These included benzothiazole, 2-aminobenzothiazole, 2-mercaptobenzothiazole, N,N’-diphenylguanidine, and N,N’-diphenylurea. However, many other chemicals characterized as unknowns are likely to also play a key role in the adverse effects observed. Our study provides insight into the types of chemicals likely to be important toxicological drivers in tire leachates, and improves our understanding on the ecotoxicological impacts of tire wear particles. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Authors: Leah Chibwe, Joanne L Parrott, Kallie Shires, Hufsa Khan, Stacey Clarence, Christine Lavalle, Cheryl Sullivan, Anna O’Brien, Amila O De Silva, Derek C G Muir, Chelsea M Rochman
; Full Source: Environmental toxicology and chemistry 2021 Jun 14. doi: 10.1002/etc.5140.