By David Shaw, ERJ staff
Geneva, Switzerland -- Over 10 percent of tyres sold in the European marketplace do not meet the legal requirement contained in the EU's REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of CHemicals) legislation. Specifically, 184 tests carried out on 110 tyres showed that 12 tyres, sold under nine different brand names did not comply with the rules on oils containing high amounts of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH-oils). All 12 non-compliant tyres were imported from outside the EU.
The research was revealed today (1 March) at the Geneva Motor Show, following a meeting of the council of the ETRMA (European Tyre and Rubber Manufacturers' Association).
ETRMA carried out the tests on a range of tyres including car, motorcycle and industrial tyres originating in 92 different factories in 16 different countries -- including 9 EU countries and 7 countries outside the EU. All tyres carried markings showing they were made after 1 January 2010, when the ban on PAH oils came into force. Of the 12 non-compliant tyres, all originated in China. However, Francesco Gori, chairman of the ETRMA was at pains to point out that this is most likely a statistical anomaly. Over 66 perent of the tyre imported into the EU come from China. Given this dominance of China in the import statistics, a limited test on just 100 or so tyres is statistically unlikely to identify non-compliant tyres from smaller importing countries. Furthermore, said Gori, the factory is the critical aspect of the non-compliance, not the brand or country of manufacture.
He said given this high number of non-compliant tyres originating in overseas factories, those who import or deal in tyres produced overseas should check that their supplier does comply with the EU rules on REACH. At the least, an importer -- who carries legal responsibility for the tyres sold in the EU -- should seek a certificate of compliance from the supplier, which has been issued and accredited by a reliable agency. To be completely sure, the importer may want to carry out independent tests, which cost around euro 400 per test.
In a presentation in Cologne two weeks ago, Philippe Jean, The Head of the Automotive Unit European Commission DG ENTR said tyre compliance with REACH and other legislation is a priority for the EU. He said the EU will begin a programme of market surveillance, the main points of which would be to establish and reinforce national surveillance and to ensure a more coherent level of intervention and controls throughout the EU, balancing the penalties and conditions in all EU States with each other.
This market surveillance programme is due to begin in the second half of 2011. Gori said the ETRMA would support the EU in its efforts by keeping the EU officials informed of any stocks or products known to be non-compliant.