Micronized tire rubber has recently come into focus as black particles that are found in microplastic (MP) samples worldwide. These particles have been found in all environmental compartments with the most likely source being the abrasion of car tires on road surfaces. Thus, it is well founded that tires are a source of MPs and that tire abrasion is a primary source of anthropogenic particulates. Currently, the impact of tires has been viewed through the lens of particulate pollution together with MPs, but this is a relatively new direction for this topic. Previously ecotoxicological research into the environmental consequences of tires has primarily been related to the leached chemicals from tire particulates. This paper aims to (i) highlight similarities and differences of micronized rubber particles with the existing suite of polymer contaminants termed as ‘microplastics’ or ‘plastic debris’, (ii) survey the existing literature on environmental presence, fate, and interaction of micronized rubber particles with biota, and lastly (iii) present future research needs that require consideration in order to move this research area forward. Existing knowledge gaps that require attention include; determining the environmental presence and fate of micronized rubber within different environmental compartments, understanding the interaction of rubber particles with biota, particularly as potential impacts have so far been attributed solely to the leachate, and evaluating whether standard ecotoxicological protocols need to be adapted for particulate contaminants in general and specifically to suit rubber particulates and leachate.
- Tire/tyre wear