Hazardous Waste & Toxics Reduction > Laws & Rules > Better Brakes Law
Better Brakes Law
In 2010 Washington State passed a law reducing the use of toxic material in automotive brake pads and shoes. This law, similar to a recent California law, restricts the use of several heavy metals and asbestos, and provides for a phase out of copper over the next 15-20 years.
As brake pads wear down, copper and other metals are deposited on roadways, where they are washed into our streams and rivers. In urban areas, brake pads account for up to half of the copper entering our waterways. Copper is highly toxic to fish and other aquatic species. Young salmon are especially susceptible to the effects of copper. Removing copper and other toxic metals from brake materials will help to clean up Puget Sound and other water bodies around the state.
Major provisions of the Better Brakes Law
Better Brakes RuleThe Better Brakes Law directs Ecology to develop rules to implement the law. On October 19, 2012, Ecology adopted the Better Brake Rule, Chapter 173-901 WAC. The rule was developed using a consensus based rulemaking process called negotiated rulemaking. Ecology sought consensus with brake manufacturers, environmental groups, brake retailers/distributors, and other interested parties to develop the Better Brakes Rule. The rule addresses:
By January 1, 2013, manufacturers of brake friction materials are required to report to Ecology the concentrations of copper, nickel, zinc, and antimony in brake friction materials currently sold in Washington State. This baseline information will be submitted to Ecology through an industry sponsored registrar. A manufacturer cannot certify that their products comply with the requirements of the law until Ecology receives their baseline report.
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