Rice Husk Tires: Environmentally Friendly, But Are They Safe?

The tires on a vehicle are one of its most important parts and are responsible for keeping drivers safe and secure. However, tires are not cheap, nor are they necessarily environmentally friendly. In fact, the energy and materials required to manufacture tires costs thousands of dollars and causes damage to the environment. In an effort be more environmentally friendly and reduce their carbon footprints, many tire manufacturing companies, including Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., are making a technological change in the way they make tires.

Rice Husks into Silica: Changing the Face of Tire Manufacturing 

The technological change that Goodyear is making has to do with the way in which silica is produced. Silica is one of the main ingredients in tire tread and is used to help strengthen the tires and increase tire grip, especially on wet surfaces. While silica has been manufactured for years and used in tires via the process of incinerating sand, rice husks also can be used to produce silica.

Benefits of Rice Husks for Silica Production 

Using rice husks for silica production and manufacturing tires is thought to be much more environmentally friendly than using sand, which is currently how it’s made for tire manufacturing. The silica from the rice husks is found in the ash of a burned husk, and rice husks are being burned in some rice mills to generate electricity. By using rice husk ash for silica production, Goodyear and other tire manufacturing companies will reduce the amount of rice husk ash that enters the waste stream, as well as its associated risks.

Furthermore, according to an Associated Press article, incinerating sand for silica requires temperatures of about 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit. Silica from rice husks, on the other hand, can be produced at a temperature of only 212 degrees Fahrenheit. The extreme temperature difference can have an impact on energy costs. Using rice husks also reduces the amount of carbon black, reports the AP, which is used as a reinforcement agent for rubber in tire production. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, HAPs (hazardous air pollutants) are emitted from carbon black. HAPs can have a dangerous environmental impact and can be unhealthy for those exposed to them.

Are tires manufactured using rice husks safe? 

While tires that are manufactured using rice husks are more environmentally friendly, there are some concerns about the new tires. Because the transformation is still in its beginning stages, there may not be enough data on the tires to determine whether durability and safety is an issue. Of course, any tires that are deemed to be unsafe for public use will not be released or will be recalled if a safety defect is discovered either by the tire manufacturing company or by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

When a Dangerous Tire Causes an Accident 

When a defective or otherwise dangerous tire causes a car accident, the manufacturer may be responsible. Under the law, tire manufacturers are responsible for creating products that are safe for consumer use. When a defective tire causes an accident that results in injuries, the tire manufacturer may be liable for damages related to medical expenses, pain and suffering, and more.

If you’ve been in an accident caused by a poorly manufactured or designed tire, the attorneys at Chalik & Chalik Law Offices can help recover the compensation you deserve. For help proving that a defective tire caused your accident, filing your claim and winning your case, call us today at 855-529-0269.