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Auto industry to phase out most copper in brakes by 2025

Jan 21, 2015

Brake pads contain copper, along with other heavy metals. Friction on the brakes grinds part of the pad to a fine dust which ends up on waterways.
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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has reached an agreement with the auto industry to phase out most copper from brake pads by the year 2025.

The agreement follows in the wake of California's adoption of the regulation, which is designed to protect salmon and other fish, along with aquatic plants, from the toxic effects of copper.

Every time a driver hits the brakes, the friction rubs off part of the brake pad. The fine dust of copper and other toxic materials on roadways is flushed into nearby waterways.

Adoption of the Copper-free Brake Initiative will reduce copper to 5% or less by 2021, and .5% by 2025.

The agreement also requires brake manufacturers to reduce the levels of lead, cadmium, mercury, asbestiform fibers, and chromium salts in brakes.