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Swedish medical researchers call for ban, say studded tires pose health risk

Radio SwedenEye on the Arctic
Aaron Jansen illustration

Weather forecasters predicted snow in central Sweden Thursday, prompting the seasonal debate on the use of studded winter tires and their impact on the environment.

In a debate article in Thursday’s edition of newspaper Dagens Nyheter, two medical researchers called for a total ban or strong restrictions on studded winter tires.

The researchers wrote that according to investigations in Norway, the use of studded tires does not increase road safety, and they argued that on environmental grounds, the tires greatly increase the amount of harmful particles in the air, leading to an increase in cardiac, vascular and pulmonary diseases.

“In big cities these particles kill far more people than traffic fatalities,” they write.

The main argument put forward for the use of studded tires is that they reduce braking distance on slippery ice and packed snow.

“But they have less effect on dry or wet conditions,” notes writers Bengt Fagrell, Professor Emeritus of Medicine and Associate Professor Anders Meicher at the Karolinska Institute.

Another reason to ban studded tires is that they greatly increase the wear and tear on the roads, thus increasing costs, they believe.

This story is posted on Alaska Dispatch as part of Eye on the Arctic, a collaborative partnership between public and private circumpolar media organizations.