Occurrence of tire and bitumen wear microplastics on urban streets and in sweepsand and washwater
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2020

Tire and road wear particles have been identified as a potential major source of microplastics in the environment. However, more knowledge of the emissions and their further fate in the environment is needed, and the effectiveness and benefits of potential measures must be investigated to support future risk management efforts. Here the concentrations of tire and bitumen microplastic particles (TBMP) on roads and in nearby in stormwater, sweepsand and washwater were measured for the first time within the same area and time period. The analysis also included plastic, paint and fiber particles. Road dust was sampled on the road surface using a wet dust sampler, before and after street sweeping on two occasions. On each of these occasions, and several occasions during a four-month period with frequent street sweeping, sweepsand and washwater, as well as flow-weighted sampling of stormwater, were collected. TBMP concentrations were operationally defined, using density separation for some samples, followed by analysis by stereo microscopy. Sodium iodide (NaI) was found to be effective for density separation of TBMP. The largest proportion of anthropogenic microplastics detected consisted of tire tread wear and bitumen. The number of TBMP ≥100 μm in the WDS samples was up to 2561 particles/L. Sweepsand and washwater contained high amounts of TBMP ≥100 μm, up to 2170 particles/kg dw and 4500 particles/L, respectively. The results show that the sweeper collects considerable amounts of TBMP, and thus weekly sweeping might prevent further transport of TBMP to the receiving stormwater. In stormwater the number of particles ≥100 μm was up to 3 particles/L and ≥ 20 μm was up to 5900 particles/L showing the importance of analysing smaller microparticle sizes than 100 μm in all samples in future studies. This study also confirms that there is a substantial volume of TBMP generated from traffic that enters the environment.

Road dust



Tire wear

Street sweeping



Ida Järlskog

Chalmers, Arkitektur och samhällsbyggnadsteknik, Geologi och geoteknik

Statens Väg- och Transportforskningsinstitut (VTI)

Ann-Margret Hvitt Strömvall

Chalmers, Arkitektur och samhällsbyggnadsteknik, Vatten Miljö Teknik

Kerstin Magnusson

IVL Svenska Miljöinstitutet

Mats Gustafsson

Statens Väg- och Transportforskningsinstitut (VTI)

Maria Polukarova

Statens Väg- och Transportforskningsinstitut (VTI)

Helen Galfi

Göteborgs Stad

Maria Aronsson

Göteborgs Stad

Yvonne Andersson-Sköld

Statens Väg- och Transportforskningsinstitut (VTI)

Chalmers, Arkitektur och samhällsbyggnadsteknik

Science of the Total Environment

00489697 (ISSN) 18791026 (eISSN)

Vol. 729 138950

Innovativa och hållbara lösningar för att reducera förorening av vägar och vägdagvatten

VINNOVA (2018-00652), 2018-04-18 -- 2020-04-17.

Belastning och lösningar för trafikrelaterade persistenta organiska föroreningar (POP) och mikro/nanoplaster

Statens Väg- och Transportforskningsinstitut (VTI), 2019-01-01 -- 2021-12-31.

Formas (2017-00720), 2019-01-01 -- 2021-12-31.


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