Later this month, a bill that would force brake pad manufacturers to reduce the amount of copper in friction materials will be considered by the California Assembly. According to an article on the San Francisco Chronicle website, the amount of copper in pads would have to be reduced to 5 percent by 2021, and down to 0.5 percent by 2032.
One change in the bill is in regards to a fee that would help pay for monitoring the program’s effectiveness. The legislation originally called for a $1-per-axle fee, but due to concerns raised by the automotive industry, this fee has been dropped from the proposed bill.
Below is the article as it appeared on the San Francisco Chronicle website.
Bill would brake on bay’s copper pollution
David Carini, Special to The Chronicle
Sunday, June 6, 2010
Every time Bay Area drivers tap their car brakes, they pollute San Francisco Bay and harm one of Northern California’s most threatened fish – salmon.
Brake pads, which can contain up to 15 percent copper, slowly break down each time they’re used, releasing tiny amounts of the metal into the environment. Millions of cars add up to a lot of copper.
Studies have shown that about 190,000 pounds of brake-pad copper end up in the bay’s watershed every year, and about 28,000 pounds make it into the bay itself. That makes the pads the bay’s No. 1 source of the metal, which can disrupt a salmon’s natural ability to sniff out and avoid predators.
This month, the Assembly will hear SB346, a bill that would force manufacturers to drastically reduce the amount of copper in the pads, cutting it to 5 percent by 2021. By 2032, the pads could contain only 0.5 percent of copper.
Supporters of the measure by state Sen. Christine Kehoe, D-San Diego, say it would go a long way to solving one of the region’s most intractable water problems. It’s virtually impossible to get copper out of the bay, where it poses a threat to a fishery already devastated by low water flows and habitat destruction.
To read the entire article, visit the San Francisco Chronicle website at http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/06/05/BAMA1DMFSK.DTL.