Tire shred processors use various mechanical means to reduce the waste stream of tires to components including rubber and steel. There is a stockpile of shredded rubber material in many states that is currently marketed mainly for use as Tire Derived Fuel (TDF). Civil engineering applications such as light landfill cover, and potentially landfill drainage layers are also attractive applications for shredded rubber material. Local environmental protection agencies and state public health officials have been reluctant, however, in some regions to allow recycled rubber to be used in civil engineering applications. An absence of data concerning long-term effects is often cited as justification for these bans. We summarized recent laboratory investigations conducted to quantify possible leachates from various recycled tire compounds. Extension of these results to reported field tests detailing the impact of recycled rubber on air, soil and water quality is also considered, as well as biological and toxicity issues. Finally, we identify areas where additional research is required and suggest approaches supporting “Better Use Determinations” for use of recycled tire rubber in these applications.

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