The signing ceremony for the Copper Free Brake Initiative. Photo courtesy of MEMA.

The signing ceremony for the Copper Free Brake Initiative. Photo courtesy of MEMA.

Several motor vehicle industry associations including the Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association and Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association pledged to reduce the amount of copper in brake pads. The groups signed a Memorandum of Understanding along with representatives of the EPA and Environmental Council of the States.

The memorandum calls for the reduction of copper in brake pads beginning in 2021 to levels less than 5% by weight. By 2025 the number will be reduced to .5%.

Following legislation in California and Washington reducing copper use, it was decided that a national guideline was needed to ensure consistency in reporting requirements.  The reduction of copper in brake pads will reduce the amount of the metal entering the nation’s waterways.

“EPA is proud to partner with the automotive industry and the states to reduce the use of copper in vehicle brake pads,” said Stan Meiburg, acting deputy assistant administrator of the EPA. “The environment and public health in our country will benefit from this type of collaboration.”

Brake manufacturers have supported the efforts to reduce copper, reformulating proprietary brake friction ingredients to ensure motorist safety while reducing copper content.

A ceremony was held for the signing of the Copper-Free Brake initiative which also calls for the cutting of mercury, lead, cadmium, asbestiform fibers, and chromium-6 salts in brake pads

“The effort shows how states, the federal government and industries can work together to develop innovative, non-regulatory ways to reduce pollution,” said Robert Martineau of ECOS.