DETROIT, Mich. (Aug. 29, 2008) — At an event today with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Firestone Complete Auto Care™ and Firestone Racing reiterated their commitment to improving the environment through eliminating the use of lead wheel weights. The two members of the Bridgestone Americas (BSA) family joined the EPA at the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix to launch the agency’s new National Lead-Free Wheel Weight Initiative.
“We’re thrilled to be a part of the Environmental Protection Agency’s new National Lead-Free Wheel Weight Initiative,” said John Sheerin, Environmental Director for BFS Retail & Commercial Operations, LLC, which operates 2,000 automotive service store locations, including Firestone Complete Auto Care, Tires Plus™, ExpertTire™ and Wheel Works™. “All of us who support this initiative are doing our part to have a positive impact on the environment.”
In late 2007, BFRC became the first major automotive service provider to announce the move away from the use of lead wheel weights. All of BFRC’s approximately 2,000 automotive service store locations are switching to using more ecologically sensitive, non-toxic steel weights, replacing millions of lead wheel weights each year. In June 2008, Firestone Racing began using a non-lead product, the 3M™ Wheel Weight System, for all Indy Racing League IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights events.
Wheel weights are applied onto the wheels of vehicles when tires are installed to help the wheels balance properly and run smoothly. The weights can fall off and may get thrown onto the edges of roadways, possibly contaminating soil or water if they are made of lead or another environmentally harmful material.
“The Environmental Protection Agency is proud to announce this important Initiative and recognize the contribution of our partners,” said Susan Parker Bodine, Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. “By taking part in the National Lead-Free Wheel Weight Initiative, EPA’s partners are helping protect public health and the environment by phasing out the sale and installation of lead wheel weights and educating the public about the benefits of alternatives.”
For Bridgestone Americas, the change to non-lead wheel weights is just one of many efforts to protect and conserve the environment under the global “One Team, One Planet” program from Bridgestone Corporation, BSA’s parent company.
“When it comes to being ecologically sensitive, we’re all in this together,” said Al Speyer, Executive Director of Bridgestone Firestone Motorsports. “By eliminating the use of lead wheel weights on the race track and on our neighborhood highways and byways, we’re taking a small action that will have a big effect.”
About Bridgestone Americas Holding, Inc.:
Nashville, Tenn.-based Bridgestone Americas Holding, Inc. (BSAH) is the U.S. subsidiary of Bridgestone Corporation, the world’s largest tire and rubber company. BSAH and its subsidiaries develop, manufacture and market a wide range of Bridgestone, Firestone and associate brand tires to address the needs of a broad range of customers, including consumers, automotive and commercial vehicle original equipment manufacturers, and those in the agricultural, forestry and mining industries. The companies are also engaged in retreading operations throughout the Western Hemisphere and produce air springs, roofing materials, synthetic rubber and industrial fibers and textiles. The BSAH family of companies also operates the world’s largest chain of automotive tire and service centers.