Pollution Prevention! ★Copper-Free Brake Initiative. ★ Reduction in copper and other metals into the environment.

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Copper-Free Brake Initiative

On January 21, 2015, EPA, states and the automotive industry signed an agreement to reduce the use of copper and other materials in motor vehicle brake pads. The agreement calls for reducing copper in brake pads to less than 5 percent by weight in 2021 and 0.5 percent by 2025.

In addition to copper, this voluntary initiative reduces mercury, lead, cadmium, asbestiform fibers, and chromium-6 salts in motor vehicle brake pads.

The Initiative will decrease runoff of these materials from roads into the nation's streams, rivers and lakes. Copper from stormwater runoff can affect fish, amphibians, invertebrates and plants.

This initiative includes:

Numbers on copper reductions:

California and Washington already passed requirements to reduce these materials in brake pads. Prior to these requirements, fine dust from vehicular braking released an estimated 1.3 million pounds of copper into California's environment in 2010 and about 250,000 pounds into Washington's environment in 2011. Estimates for California show as much as a 61-percent reduction of copper in urban runoff due to changes in brake pad composition.


In addition to EPA, the Environmental Council of the States and eight industry groups signed the initiative: Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association; Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association; Brake Manufacturers Council; Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association; Auto Care Association; Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers; Association of Global Automakers, Inc.; and the Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association.

Read the copper-free brakepadsagreement between EPA, states and automotive industry representatives (PDF)(22 pp, 1.1MB,About PDF)