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Management of Scrap Tires in the Border Region

The management of scrap tires is a significant challenge. Information on this topic is available from the EPA, the NADB, and the TCEQ.

A long-time challenge in the border region is the management of scrap tires.

A significant number of scrap tires are simply dumped at unsightly, illegal sites. Even when they are collected at legal sites the accumulation can get large, and occasionally the piles catch on fire. The fires are difficult and relatively expensive to extinguish and can cause acute air quality problems within a radius of several miles. Children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable to such air pollution.

Because of the shape of tires, the piles (both legal and illegal) provide places for rainwater to collect and then mosquitoes to breed. This then causes another public health problem—the spreading of diseases such as dengue and West Nile virus.

The challenge exists on both sides of the border, but is a larger issue on the Mexican side because a significant number of used tires that are replaced on the U.S. side still have just enough tread to be attractive for purchase on the Mexican side. There is a flow of used tires south across the border, and those tires have a relatively short life before they are abandoned as scrap.

Below is more information about this subject, as it relates to the border region that Texas shares with its four neighboring Mexican states.

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