Copper brake pads: fish and people don't have to live in conflict

Off the top of your head, you could probably list the major problems with cars – greenhouse gas emissions, fossil fuels, miles of pavement, etc. Add one more to the list: copper in brake pads. It’s something we overlook; each time we stop our cars, trace amounts of copper dust are shaved off the brake pads and left on the streets. That copper dust is carried through our stormwater channels down to our beaches and creeks. Copper is toxic to marine wildlife, indeed copper in boat hull paint is used precisely because it kills fouling organisms.

As today’s UT story points out, a California bill is nearing the Governor’s desk – SB 346 which will address this threat.  This bill, authored by San Diego Senator Christine Kehoe, will phase out the copper in brake pads starting in 2021 and virtually eliminate the metal by 2025.  Coastkeeper has worked for years on reducing copper and applauds the change. We’ve also joined with Sustainable Conservation’s Brake Pad Partnership to craft the bill’s language to make sure vehicle safety is preserved.

One more example that fish and people don’t have to be in conflict.