Recap advocate tells Halifax engineers to restate case

HALIFAX — It doesn’t matter how lofty your title. If you diss retreads you’re going to be hearing from Harvey Brodsky.

As the managing director of the California-based Tire Retread Information Bureau (TRIB), the tireless Brodsky is always on the lookout for anyone who gives his beloved retreads bad press, and the latest target to fall into his crosshairs was a group of engineers at Halifax’s Dalhousie University.

In a report on the viability of using tires as alternative fuels that was published in April of this year, the following sentence appeared: “However, anyone who has driven a highway in Canada will have noticed significant amounts of tread that have separated from trucks implying that re-treading of truck tires has limited success.”

TRIB boss always on the lookout for bad retread press

The report continued: “Re-use of tires has limited opportunity because of safety issues associated with re-treading passenger vehicle tires.”

Anyone who’s heard of Brodsky or his group knows he doesn’t have much patience with retreads being unjustly criticized.

So when the report was brought to Brodsky’s attention, he went into damage-control overdrive.

“Where,” he wrote in a pointed letter to Dalhousie University’s department of Process Engineering and Applied Science, “did you get your facts?”

Tire debris on highways anywhere, he explains, is primarily caused by improper tire maintenance, with underinflation being the main culprit, followed by mismatching of tires on dual wheel positions, improperly aligned vehicles, overloading, improper tire repairs (plugs) and tires being driven with less than the legal limit of tread remaining.

“You might be interested to learn that much of the tire debris — a.k.a Road Alligators & Rubber on the Road — on highways comes from tires that have never been retreaded. To imply that retreaded tires are responsible for tire debris is to do a terrible disservice to an industry that is responsible for greatly helping the environment and for saving Canadian truckers millions of dollars every year.”

In fact, the U.S. government thinks so highly of the environmental and economical benefits of retreaded tires there is a Federal Executive Order (13149) mandating the use of retreaded tires on many federal fleet vehicles, Brodsky’ points out.

“In fairness to our many members in Canada and nearly 50 other countries worldwide, we ask that you amend your report to remove the offending and untrue statements referred to above.”

As of early this week, TRIB had not heard back from the university.

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