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Get the Lead Out!

Are your wheel weights lead-free?

Lead weight example

In honor of Earth Day, Transportation and Distribution Services is offering a $20 rebate for the removal of all lead weights from your vehicle's wheels.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), lead weights used to balance vehicle wheels often fall off and contaminate soil, wash into our waterways, or end up in landfills. UC Irvine Fleet Services and Transportation and Distribution Services have taken the lead by joining the National Partnership for Environmental Priorities (NPEP) and committing to phase out lead weights from all UCI fleet vehicles.

The initial phase-out began in December 2009 with an estimated 300 pounds of lead wheel weights being taken out of inventory and off fleet vehicles. By June 2010 zinc-coated weights will be used in all UCI fleet vehicles when new tire mounting and balancing of existing tires occurs.

Click here to view the news release. [link opens in new window]

Lead Weight Quick Facts

  • On October 12, 2009 Governor Schwarzenegger signed a bill banning the sale and installation of lead wheels weights in California.
  • According to the EPA, an average of 4.5 ounces of lead is clipped to the wheel rims of every automobile in the United States.
  • Approximately 50 million pounds of lead is used annually to produce tire weights worldwide in autos and light trucks.
  • 12.5 million pounds annually is uncontrolled or unmanaged in the environment.
  • 1.6 million pounds is lost when wheel weights fall off during normal driving conditions (e.g., hitting a pot hole).
  • According to the Center for Environmental Health, wheel weights, used on about 80% of cars and trucks, are often made of lead.
  • Estimates show 500,000 pounds of lead are released into California's environment from wheel weights.
  • UCI has over 10,000 cars on campus per day, or approximately 2,250 pounds of potentially hazardous lead.
  • Zinc, steel and composites are among the variety of alternatives being developed to replace lead wheel weights.

Additional Resources

For additional resources and information on this national campaign, visit:

The Ecology Center:
www.leadfreewheels.org/ [link opens in new window]

EPA site on Lead-Free Wheel Weight Initiative:
www.epa.gov/waste/hazard/wastemin/nlfwwi.htm [link opens in new window]

Center for Environmental Health:
www.ceh.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=371&Itemid=260 [link opens in new window]

California Department of Toxic Substance Control:
www.dtsc.ca.gov/PollutionPrevention/ToxicsInProducts/leadwheelweights.cfm [link opens in new window]

UCI Transportation and Distribution Services
200 Public Services Building
Irvine, CA 92697-4525
Phone: (949) 824-7275      Fax: (949) 824-2387
Office Hours: Monday - Friday 7:30 AM - 4:00 PM
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