With the rise of electric vehicles (EVs), a little known source of pollution is gaining more attention, tyre emissions.
Every year, about two billion tyres are produced worldwide.
These tyres contribute to pollution when they come in contact with the road, releasing tiny particles into the air.
Emissions Analytics CEO Nick Molden said tyre pollution had increased with EVs because they were on average heavier than combustion engine vehicles due to the weight of their batteries.
"You want to try and make vehicles smaller and lighter and that goes totally against the current trend," he said.
"EVs have about 20 per cent higher tyre wear emissions because they're typically 400kgs heavier.
"So EVs are making what actually has been quite a big problem worse."
Mr Molden said the tyre industry is "completely unregulated" with companies not having to disclose what is in their tyres.
Emissions Analytics found that tyres were typically made up of 10 per cent natural rubber with the rest derived from crude oil.
"Tyres are really complex and potentially toxic things," Mr Molden said.
"The average amount that a car sheds from our testing is about 70 milligrams per kilometer.
"Tyres also shed what's called ultra fine or nanoparticles which have virtually no weight so they don't show up in the 70 milligrams.
"They're the ones that hang in the air for a long time that we inhale and they can go very deep into the lungs and into the blood system."
As the organic compounds from the tyres sit there on the road, toxic chemicals ooze out into the soil and waterways.
"A few years ago on the west coast of America, they linked a chemical in tyres [6PPD] to significant 'die off' of coho salmon," Mr Molden said.
"It reduced the salmon stocks by more than 50% and it also affects some trout as well.
"And there's a very recent piece of research from China which showed that it gets drawn up into plants as they grow."
University of Technology Sydney senior lecturer in environmental engineering Dr Nicholas Surawski said "we need innovation to address this problem".
"As transport gets cleaner with EVs, there's no emissions from the tailpipe, so we now need to start targeting these other sources," he said.
"We're talking about reducing the weight of EV batteries, increasing the durability of tyres, engineering brake dust filters, and there's also a need for local councils to keep streets clean."
But Australian Electric Vehicle Association president Chris Jones said while he agreed that tyre pollution was a problem, the idea that EVs were to blame was "absolutely garbage".
"The conclusion is that because EVs are a bit heavier, they'll produce more [tyre pollution] when really the problem is too many cars on our roads," he said.
"We've been producing particulate tyre pollution since the 1930s and no one cared until EVs came along.
"So why do you think people are caring now?
"I think they're just trying to find reasons to avoid moving to EVs."
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Australia is only up to the Euro 5 emission standards and Mr Jones said we are "lagging behind".
"We've got away with it by being a small right hand drive market at the end of the world," he said.
"We were left off the radar and I think we've been exploiting that for a long time.
"People are asking, why is Australia only now starting to look at fuel efficiency standards and only now starting to look at supply side policies to improve EV uptake?
"I think we're finally being called out on it."
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