Studded Tire Science

Those of us who live in places where there’s snow and ice sometimes need to avail ourselves of studded winter tires, tires with little metal protrusions that are meant to grip the ice and snow the way that regular tires just can’t.

Those of us who live in places where there’s snow and ice sometimes need to avail ourselves of studded winter tires, tires with little metal protrusions that are meant to grip the ice and snow the way that regular tires just can’t. Given that winter tires eat pavement that’s not covered with ice and snow, in many places around the world the tires are banned outright.

And according to a study that appears in the American Chemical Society’s journal Chemical Research in Toxicology, studded tires may be more problematic than just facilitating pothole creation.

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In “Wear Particles from Studded Tires and Granite Pavement Induce Pro-inflammatory Alterations in Human Monocyte-Drived Macrophages: A Proteomic Study,” by several researchers associated with Linkopin University, University Hospital, and the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute, all in Sweden, the authors write, Overall, proteins associated with inflammatory response were increased and proteins involved in cellular functions such as redox balance, anti-inflammatory response, and glycolysis were decreased. Investigating the effects of characterized wear particles on human macrophages with a toxicoproteomic approach has shown to be useful in the search for more detailed information about specific pathways and possible biological markers.”

Or, more generally speaking, studded tires can cause road dust that is not so good for the heart and respiratory system.

Of course, sliding off the side of a mountain probably isn’t particularly good, either.