Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Copper coated car tires

Mosquito prophylactic
  [vote for,

It is commonly reported that discarded car tires foster mosquitoes - the inner cup of the tire can catch small pools - which being predator free and sheltered make fine breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

Insecticides cause collateral damage and are expensive - too expensive for the third world countries where mosquito control is most important. Metallic copper is very toxic to soft bodied invertebrates, including mosquito larvae. I propose that a small amount of copper be added to the inside of new tires just after they leave the mold. This could be a thin wire - better would probably be a puff of metallic copper powder over the entire inside. This would adhere to the hot sticky rubber and would not impair the tire utility. When the tire was discarded, the copper would remain. Any water pooling in the tire would reach toxic copper concentrations, inhibiting mosquito breeding. If the copper came out of the tire, there would not be much problem with water pollution. The copper would last as long as the rubber. And it is cheap - each tire could be treated for a fraction of a cent.

This principle is why bronze vases are often used for cemetery flowers - the trace amount of copper leaching from the bronze inhibits mosquito growth. I attached a link from an abstract detailing an experiment in which they showed that even small pieces of copper wire in water were enough the greatly reduce mosquito breeding.

bungston, Dec 18 2002

Research on copper and mosquitoes. http://www.ncbi.nlm...30501&dopt=Abstract

"Mosquitoes, Disease and Scrap Tires" http://www.uri.edu/...arch/eee/tires.html
One of the species mentioned here is Aedes albopictus, the one studied in the paper above. [bungston, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 06 2004]

"Mosquitoes, Disease and Scrap Tires" http://www.uri.edu/...arch/eee/tires.html
One of the species mentioned here is Aedes albopictus, the one studied in the paper above. [Monkfish, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

"West Nile Virus and Scrap Tires" http://ohioline.osu.../wnv-fact/1004.html
[Monkfish, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 06 2004]

Marginally relevant link about Alzheimer's and copper http://www.google.c...%27s&hl=en&ie=UTF-8
"Neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disease may stem from copper-mediated toxicity." Then again, it could be the tin. [Monkfish]

Pollution from cars, etc. http://www.ci.milpi...ban_runoff_road.htm
It seems there's already too much copper runoff from brake linings and other metals from tires. Copper is very toxic to marine biota [Monkfish, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 06 2004]

Pollution from cars, etc. http://www.ci.milpi...ban_runoff_road.htm
It seems there's already too much copper runoff from brake linings and other metals from tires. Copper is very toxic to marine biota [FarmerJohn, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Tires and mosquitoes. http://www.p2pays.o...io/htmls2/prh8.html
[bungston, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 06 2004]

A new device in the arsenal. http://www.larvasonic.com/
Kills mosquito larvae only. [ty6, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 06 2004]

Earthships http://www.earthship.org/
Good use for bad tires [TimD, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 06 2004]

Tell the tire industry! http://www.rubberne...bscriber/write.html
Consider sending this idea to the editors of Rubber News, the tire industry's paper of record. [bobbv, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 06 2004]


       An absolutely brilliant and innovative idea. A breath of fresh air for the HB and a croissant for you.
linguist, Dec 18 2002

       Agreed. Nice one, [bungston]. Each tire could be treated WITH a fraction of a cent ;-)   

       Would the copper pose an environmental risk or is the toxicity limited to invertebrates?
bristolz, Dec 18 2002

       Excellent. From what miniscule amount I've just read on the internet, it seems like it takes a whole lot of copper to cause problems. Water running through copper gutters and downspouts seems to be considered a non-issue.   

       I wonder if it might be considered a problem where used tires are stored in high concentration.
half, Dec 18 2002

       Being that we have a stack of tires at my work that harbors mosquitoes by the shitload, I can definitely appreciate this idea. Jose Cuervo agrees.
AfroAssault, Dec 18 2002

       No problems in the buildup of copper as you go up the food chain, then?
RayfordSteele, Dec 18 2002

       You might inadvertantely cause a profitable market for extracting the copper from the tires. Which would probably end up with tires stripped of copper back in the land fills.
TBK, Dec 18 2002

       I agree with your thought [TBK]. There is always the possibility that an invention, or an idea, spawns an industry that was unintended, but beneficial. I just hope this idea does not land up in obscurity on the back pages of the HB, while ideas like *Lemming Teabags* garner the entire spotlight.
linguist, Dec 19 2002

       Excellent idea! [+] Something's troubling me though, where DO all those huge piles of tires in third world countries come from?
X2Entendre, Dec 19 2002

       Very Workable Idea   

       X2Entendre I live in a "third world country" and I havent seen any piles of tires, maybe 1 or 2, but the little research I have just done leads me to believe that the USA has the most discarded tires - discarding over 250 million tires annually.
Trodden, Dec 19 2002

       [TBK]'s objection could be overcome by incorporating the copper into the rubber in such a way that extracting it would cost more than the resulting yield is worth.
(Hi, [Afro], where ya been?)
angel, Dec 19 2002

       [UB] I thought it was aluminum. There seems to be a fricking metal-of-the-week that causes Alzheimer's. If it gives mosquitos Alzheimer's, maybe they'll forget how to bite.
linguist, Dec 19 2002

       I have an Alzheimer's-causing-metals calendar. December is tin.
Monkfish, Dec 19 2002

       That's weird, my December shows molybdenum.   

       You know, just parsing over the various ideas that have been posted here and realizing that this is one of the very best practical notions to grace the halfbakery, ever. One of the very few that I could get behind in an activist sort of way--especially given the advent of west nile virus and other mosquito-borne vexations. Not only is the idea good, it is perfectly contemporary, fitting in exactly with the sway and genuine priorities of the times.   

       I would love to know what it was, what the spark was, that lead you, [bungston], to hit upon this. Did it strike you over dinner? Did you wake up with the solution sketched out in your head? What was it?   

       Aluminum is the only metal I have read that is potentially linked to Alzheimers and that is based mostly on large amounts of aluminum found in the brains of beached whales (at least, that's how I recall it).
bristolz, Dec 19 2002

       I think what sets this idea apart from many others is the absolute simplicity of design and the apparent benefit to mankind.   

       I too am interested in the thought process behind this idea.
linguist, Dec 20 2002

       This idea has single handedly renewed my faith in the Half-bickery. Way to go! Anything about copper from the new tires leaching into the water supply is unknown, but I would be surprised if it turns out to be as much as what comes out of the copper pipes we have now.
gootyam, Dec 20 2002

       Mosquitoes are a hobby of mine. For the past few summers I have set out tubs and messed around with the mosquitoes that accumulate there. Last summer it was an experiment to see how many 11 cent goldfish could sustain themselves on nothing but mosquitoes (one). I had heard about the bronze vases in cemeteries a few years back and wondered if the same idea could be applied to tires. I did an experiment with copper wire in a tub but due to the hot weather the results were inconclusive.   

       I did a test flight of this idea on the mosquito researchers bulletin board this past spring. It was well received there, and one of the researchers pointed me the link to the Italian copper wire study I cited.   

       Thanks for the compliments. Please retain that frame of mind for my upcoming "pizza salad sandwich" idea.
bungston, Dec 20 2002

       . . . or Copper Coopers.
bristolz, Dec 20 2002

       With raised copper colored lettering? Might be marketable here in the Copper State (I can see "Cooper State" being used in marketing campaigns).   

       Not putting the idea down with the following, just interjecting a point for discussion:
What's in it for the tire manufacturer? Unless it's mandated, why would they spend the extra money? From a marketing perspective, would they want their product associated with the image of heaps of worn out broken down remnants of the product? Would marketers believe that consumers are forward thinking enough to know the tires will eventually wear out and get dumped someplace?
half, Dec 20 2002

       I imagine no tire company would touch it. Once a company showed it was feasible, it would become a regulation (complete with proper elimination of copper fumes from the vaporization process, etc.), and they'd be *forced* implement the idea. Hence, there'd be a lot of R&D at their expense and then no competitive advantage.   

       Another possibility would be a company taking up the idea and keeping it for themselves (e.g., "Cooper Coppers").   

       It's too bad you don't have the background (I'm guessing) to draw up a process for this, but maybe you could team up with someone (a re-tired tire-company chemist, say) and patent it. Get regulators on board and allow use of the patent royalty-free. (Then spend your time accepting various humanitarian awards and honorary degrees.)   

       Good work. While I love halfbakery for making me laugh, it's nice to see the serious side used as well.   

       (Oh, and as to "where DO all those huge piles of tires come from?" They come from cars.)
rowlycat, Dec 20 2002


       Way to go bungston. Anything that cuts down mosquito numbers is ok by me. This truly is a simple and elegant idea, I really hope someone bakes it.
madradish, Dec 21 2002

       [Bungston], what everyone said. A well done from [UB] is something to treasure.   

       I know some people who work for Coopers in the UK, which used to be part of the company I work for. I'll run it past them in the New Year and see what they think.   

       [half] there is more and more legislation being put on the automotive industry to consider what happens to a car at the end of its life (for instance the pithily named EEC End Of Life Vehicle Directive). Companies are being forced to design-in ease of dismantling and recycling as well as reducing the number and amount of harmful substances used. While a detail like side effects of inefficiencies in tyre disposal may be a little esoteric for most manufacturers at the moment, I'm sure it won't be too long before this could come into its own.
egbert, Dec 21 2002

       Maybe we could just water bomb pennies onto tire land fill sites. God knows they would be more useful there than sitting in a tin on my desk. I would like to donate 300 pennies to the cause.
TBK, Dec 21 2002

       [TBK] - Unfortunately, your pennies are mostly zinc, which may or may not be more dangerous when leached.   

       I'm guessing that bungston will be more than happy to accept a few crisp green dollars to further advance this idea, though ;).
cswiii, Dec 31 2002

       Very cool idea. The problem I see is the additional step in fabrication to add the copper. It would be a real pain to add it to the molding process, without adding process time. It might be a small fee per tire, but when one looks at volumes, it becomes a huge investment.   

       Another approach might be a aerosol copper injector can like fix-a-flat with an inert carrier. The vehicles owner in preparation for buying new tires, would get a can of tire-copper with a CO-2 carrier, attach it to the tire and inject the copper dust. This approach would create market awareness, and maybe even awareness from the tire folks and implementation into their product.
amuron, Dec 31 2002

       [rowlycat], I have no objection to your quoting me, if done accurately. Quoting out of context is distasteful.
X2Entendre, Dec 31 2002

       It occurs to me that lead pipe may being confused with copper pipe. One of the reasons federal housing projects have no kitchen sinks, lavatories, toilets, and bathtubs, is that thieves break open the walls to steal the copper pipe to sell it. It is used for water supply pipes in upscale residential housing.
Graves, Dec 31 2002

       Could not one treat tires for one cent? I mean by dropping a penny into any stray tires one may come across...(hmmm...100 tires for a dollar), I realize it may take a multimillion dollar "grassroots" ad campaign to get it all rolling, but then it would take the stress off of the manufacturers to implement a "Copper Treatment" of the tire rubber. Then again, perhaps I am just terribly out of touch. Peace and stuff...
tsuru, Jan 01 2003

       I like the penny in the tire idea. If there is a fetid pool at the bottom, one might also make a wish. I think the problem with the manufacturers is a valid one - I think that this would have to be required by law, analogous to other pollution control laws.   

       I like the copper aerosol spray idea. This could address tired manufactured before copper coating legislation comes into effect. I notice when I buy a new tire I am charged a fee (about $12) for old tire disposal. This fee could easily cover a spritz of copper powder, with some adhesive gunk, into the old tire.   

       The next step ifor this idea would be a controlled experiment, where researchers familiar with collecting and quantifying mosquito larvae compare treated or untreated tires in a mosquito prone area (perhaps Afroassaults workplace).
bungston, Jan 01 2003

       Where I live, we have a mosquito problem too. The government has asked us to wrap or puncture used tyres.   

       An easier solution is mandatory (or subsidised) tyre recycling.
FloridaManatee, Jan 01 2003


       Very good idea. From reading all the comments it's seems your next step is to make a working prototype. I doubt you will be able to patent this idea, as one it has become public knowledge through postage on this bulletin board and two, as said previously, it would cost the car/tyre industry money they probably don't wish to spend.   

       Your best chance, after proving it works, would be to push the idea through Government. Here in Britain we have Governement Agencies that fund such project work and when finished could make the legislation compulsory for The Tyre Manufacturing Industry. You could suggest that you're put in command of the project, but I am sure if you make it look as though you have done your homework that you will automatically get that position. Good luck.   

       Further Reading: Design and Marketing of New Products by Glen.L.Urban and John.R.Hauser would be worth reading before making your proposal to government or anyone else.
DRudge, Jan 02 2003

       [bungston], back at work now, email me (see profile page). In the light of some of the above comments, I want you to confirm it's ok with you before I run this past my mate at Cooper's as promised.
egbert, Jan 02 2003

       [X2Entendre], just noticed your comment. You really found that offensive? If so, I'll snip it out, but it wasn't meant like that. (I'd've emailed, but...)
rowlycat, Jan 14 2003

       Wow. Could a weak copper sulphate solution work?
andrewuk, Jan 28 2003

       [X2Entendre] : It seems to me that the whole page is "context" enough. The original context can be assessed easily enough by any reader that short quote snippets shouldn't be objectionable. It's not like you need to fire up a search engine or anything to find ascertain the original context.
bristolz, Jan 28 2003

       I work for Cooper Tires in the U.S. and though I'm no chemist or mixing specialist, It seems that a prescribed amount of the copper powder could be added quite easily into the raw material used to make the liner ply, the thin outer layer of the tires inner cavity. Great Idea!
hard-scrabble, Jan 29 2003

       Wouldn't someone at Cooper Tires have been able to think of putting copper in their tires by now?
flerper, Apr 10 2003

       Why would they? There's no money in it. I am trying to get some eco-type folks interested in doing a field experiment here in Missouri now that mosquito season is starting.
bungston, Apr 10 2003

       There is no money in thinking. Which is why we will never get paid for this.
flerper, Apr 10 2003

       Bungston, holy crap that is a wonderful idea, which could or should be fleshed out for other things too. Like a powdered copper that is so fine that it can float on the surface tension of the water or something similar.
sartep, May 19 2003

       I don't know who suggested the spray-on copper, exactly, but I think that's the way to go. All those piles of non-copperized tires currently serving as mosquito metropolises need some treatment. *scratch, scratch*   

       HAH! Mosquito prophylactic...
Eugene, May 19 2003


       Well done. You got my vote, kiddo.
Seaneeboy, May 20 2003

       Brilliant idea... true genius... what the hell is it doing on this site then? :D Copper is actually a esiential nutrient for most organisms. infact severe deficiency causes something like CjD.
venomx, May 20 2003

       Great idea-simple cheap and workable +   

       copper powder would be better than a wire- the increased surface area would mean the copper would leech into the water faster...
cevilthedevil, May 20 2003

       [Tombumb], a link provided for your edification.
bungston, May 23 2003

       bung, I read that link, perhaps I missed it, but I don't see where it says anything about percentage of mosquitoes spawned from tires. I'm certainly not agreeing with TomBomb, I'm sure the numbers are much higher than that. But I was curious what they actually were, and your link doesn't appear to shed any light on that.
waugsqueke, May 23 2003

       Splendid idea, and thanks for this interesting factoid. Now I know that a reflecting pool can be kept mosquito free for exactly 1 cent. Croissant.
dijontoothpaste, May 25 2003

       Waugs: right you are. I spun my wheels quite a while the afternoon trying to find some hard research on the subject. There is no doubt mosquitoes _do_ breed in tires, and can travel about the world using tires as vectors, but as to the contribution of tires to the overall mosquito population: it seems people take this as a given. I will ask for some help from the mosquito experts and report back.
bungston, May 25 2003

       "I sure wish these mosquitoes would go away." <Tosses a penny into the well...>
RayfordSteele, May 25 2003

       My uncle solved a nasty infestation of mosquitoes in his turtle pond by introducing goldfish. (Of course, now the turtles eat the goldfish, when they can, so he's got a nice little ecosystem going there.)   

       Perhaps we should incorporate goldfish or, rather more practically, dragonflies at tire dumps? (Dragon flies are such adept fliers precisely because they are mosquito predators.) No toxic run-off at all, then.   

       As for the point in removing mosquito breeding grounds, Rome suffered malaria every summer until they drained the marshlands around the city. Tire dumps are the modern equivalent of swamps (many small pools of water), and need to be removed from urban areas. Best solution is shredding the tires in situ (burning is much easier and is widely practised, but causes more pollution).
DrCurry, May 25 2003

       Call me stupid, but wont the skeeter just use the glove box instead?
The Beaner, May 31 2003

       Copper is a recommended treatment for some aquarium parasites. My book on treatments has migrated and can't be found now, but I have some memory of it eventually being harmfull to the fish.   

       That said, fish don't live in piles of tires. In small enough quantities I'm suspecting the benifits would much outway the risks. Mosquito bites usually swell up to the size of a quarter on me, so I truely hate them.   

       I have been using a cedar oil based spray and it seems to work just as well as anything else. Any way to use a more biodegradeable substance?   

       Anyway, Have a croissant.
Zimmy, May 31 2003

       [Zim] //Any way to use a more biodegradeable substance?//   

       It would have to be equally or less biodegradable than the rubber of the tires, which isn't very.
dijontoothpaste, Jun 01 2003

       Question. Wouldn't the copper from tires in tire dumps leech out into the water table? What would be the effects of that?
Almafeta, Jun 01 2003

       Turns out there is a branch of inscect control called 'larvacide', pretty self explanatory. A fifteen year old kid invented a sound wave producing machine that, when placed in water, kills mosquito larvae, and has been trying to market it for a few years now. It's called Larvasonic. In many parts of the world, people are all but defenseless against the mosquito, malaria is a major killer, still. To make a serious dent in this problem would require untold resouces in money, people, research/technology, and just plain old humping and slogging to reach the myriad of breeding grounds.
ty6, Jun 01 2003

       Hah! You could control misquotes anywhere for just pennies. Just toss some small change into the water…wait…. damn, pennies are made out of zinc now, aren’t they?
pluterday, Jun 01 2003

       Couldn't a series of 4-5 holes around the sidewalls help significantly to drain the water? I would think a machine could be made to accomplish that rapidly on one or several tires at a time.   

       Of course the ideal solution would be to find a practical use for the tires. I'll have to see if any good ideas have been proposed here...
jayhawk, Jun 13 2003

       Ineficeint energy use and home building are a major cause of polution, hence all the used tires should be sent to earth builders to pack and use for walls. Earthships are the way to a healthy future. (no copper needed) But a crossiant for a great idea. see link.
TimD, Jun 13 2003

       if pennies are made of copper [pluterday] and elsewhere on the site someone proposed their removal, there you have your basic resource.
babyloon, Jun 13 2003

       terrible idea!!! copper is more polluting than the tire !!!! I like the idea of a tax advantage of using the tires for earth houses.
shradius, Jul 14 2003

       no copper... no drilling holes... no rubber retainer walls..... just melt the tires down, remove the steel.. make cheaper tires and use the steel for new rims
tazmase2, Jul 19 2003

       None of you will to be able to sleep at night when Mosquitoes hit the endangered species list.
Armande Hammer, Jul 25 2003

       i sure would.. i get really big lumps when i get bitten by mozzies
tazmase2, Jul 26 2003

       what about if mosquitos ever mutate and develop exoskeletons made of copper that you cant kill?? Nyaaaa!!
Cactusbutt, Sep 18 2003

       Good idea   

       1. As far as expense, you might find several industries that are currently paying for copper waste disposal as a hazardous material. It may be combined with some other nasty stuff, but it may be OK for what you're going to use it for. It's a win-win, as it may cost less to spray inside tires than it would be to safely abate & dispose.   

       2. I am a bit concerned of the environmental impact of adding copper, especially when a certain % will likely burn in fires. But I think that this concern is highly offset by the fact that reducing mosquitos this way may GREATLY reduce the use of pesticides, which are much nastier & closer to home than a bit of copper in a landfill.   

       3. reduce. reuse. recycle. I think "make it less trouble when thrown away" might be 4th, 5th.
sophocles, Sep 18 2003

       Quite possibly the greatest idea I have ever seen on 1/2B. Only one problem, though...   

       What about all the mosquitos that breed in -other- pools of standing water? Yanno, drainage ditches, areas of standing water, rain barrels, etc. I believe I read somewhere that mosquito eggs can survive in a dehydrated state for upwards of five years.   

       That said, could this process be shoehorned into the current extermination methods? anybody who lives in the south has most likely seen the fogger trucks, belching white 'smoke' along the back roads to kill the adult bloodsuckers. Ionized copper (or copper mixed into a harmless fluid medium), fired into these stagnant aquifers could be a double whammy. The question is, would that pose any threat to the water table? Questions, questions...
Utah, Sep 18 2003

       Copper is clearly harmful to many invertebrates and vertebrates, as anyone with an aquarium will tell you. While one pile of tires irresponsibly left out in the rain is a mosquito haven, the *vast* majority of mosquitos have never been near a tire, being born in huge ponds, puddles, gutters, gulleys, plant containers, etc., according to an acquaintance of mine who used to work with the mosquito abatement dept. My worst mosquito nightmare was on a camping trip; miles from any tires as you might imagine. The tendency to pile enormous mounds of tires means that in concentrated sites such as this, copper is LIKELY to be an environmental hazard to local fauna, as the runoff finds its way into the local water system.
musicator, Sep 20 2003

       [Musicator] - I think copper is much less toxic to vertebrates than inverts - IUDs worn inside the body for months or even years are made from metallic copper. I agree that water running out of a big pile of copper coated tires would be enriched for copper and organisms exposed to this water might get a big dose. I think that any area which gets that many tires dumped in it is somewhat of a lost cause.
bungston, Sep 21 2003

       + [bungston] your mom is SOOO proud of you! WONDERFUL IDEA how does a great idea on this list get to the powers that might make it happen? also re the efficacy of pennies, an experiment with bamboo fencing during last winter's wet season in Oregon: If bamboo poles are not cut across the culm diaphrams, the top culm acts as a cup, holding water, critters, slime. mosquito nurseries. In some of these "cups" I put a penny, in some a bit of copper foil, in others nothing. In spring, (remarkably remembering about all this) I drilled a hole at the bottom of each cup, and the water poured out. the nothing-cup water was a stinky swamp, the penny water did not smell, no algae, but was not clear; the copper foil water was crystal clear. No surprises there. I don't know if algae growth is a reliable indicator of larvae growth?
mread4, Oct 14 2003

       Great Idea,   

       ... I know sometimes they bundle tires and throw them into the oceans for living habitats for sea life. I know that copper pennies thrown in a fountain will kill the fish. So, putting two and two together, I'm wondering which are more important the fish or the mosiquitos. Fish eat mosquito larvae. Oh it's a viciousus cycle, and am I am in a konodrum.   

       Tires for earthships is a great idea! Only thing --most pictures that people post look like Yoda's palace. Not too appealing if you are hoping to attract a mate.
DeusExMachina, Nov 13 2003

       Thanks ma. I am thinking about those water differences - I wonder if the way copper works is not by killing the larva, but by killing the algae and depriving them larvae of food?
bungston, Nov 13 2003

       thinking out loud here, I think if copper did work that way ... killing the algae, we would see hellatious amounts of copper bottomed pools :) I think only chlorine can kill the algae and UV light is used to kill bacteria. Salt water pools are becomming more common, the salt kills the algae. I seem to remember seeing a lot of pennies at the bottom of wishing wells coated with algae too, it's not like there was a respect ring around the penny
DeusExMachina, Nov 13 2003

       The issue regarding copper leaching into the soil from tires needs to be seen in context-- a Google search for "cdc mosquitoes tires" will give you a wide choice of places to look at the seriousness of the issue. A minute amount of copper bonded to the inner wall of tires could go a long way towards reducing the incidence of West Nile, malaria, dengue and other nasty diseases. These are all very serious killers-- malaria alone kills millions of people a year. If this idea works, and it sounds as though it might, if initiated worldwide, it would save a *real* lot of lives. There are plenty of other things in tires far worse than copper-- cadmium comes to mind-- and the mandated addition of trace amounts of copper when compared to the misery caused by mosquito bourne disease should be a no brainer. If, as I said, it actually works. And though I don't remember what the reason was, I do remember that millions of the gazillions of the tires sitting around in enormous heaps in the US are actually imported here, many from Asia and SE Asia, and they bring with them increasingly nasty varieties of mosquitoes and diseases...
hulot, Nov 19 2003

       Spare tires from Malaysia were responsible for the introduction of dengue fever to the southern US. Good idea, but a leachable insecticide impregnated in the rubber would probably work better.
mystic2311, Dec 08 2003

       Good... +1 from me.
Chomp Rock, Dec 28 2003

       Wow... excellent. I just got an account here but I've been going through this site for a while. This is one of the best ideas I've seen so far. I wonder if there's any way you could make it a reality...
theonecalledzil, Dec 28 2003

       this is a horrible idea. Can you say groundwater contamination by copper?
per se, Dec 30 2003

       Good Idea Where's the profit incentive? Maybe the government would have to force manufacturers to add a little copper inside each tire. Other things that I think of are: :State emission inspection stations could be required to "inoculate" tires with a copper containing fluid put in through the tire valve. "free air" (with a little copper) at state and national parks. Perhaps a little propaganda emphasizing citizenship, community, responsibility, the right thing to do -- naaaa
hangingchad, Jan 05 2004

       //State emission inspection stations could be required to "inoculate" tires with a copper containing fluid put in through the tire valve//   

       Good idea, [hangingchad]. I wondered what a good way to retrofit tires might be. Yeh, this would have to be a government mandate - no $ in it for anyone except folks who own copper futures.
bungston, Jan 05 2004

       Excellent idea. The newest use for old tires is to grond them up and use as a filler in asphalt to make quieter driving roads. The effect of this on copper would have to be studdied.
azmatsci, Jan 05 2004

       If the government could require emission inspection stations to "inoculate" tires perhaps the preventative medicine folks could be mandated to "inoculate" tires as a preventative measure for Malaria, Yellow Fever, Nile Fever Virus etc..
hangingchad, Jan 05 2004

       got a bad bad vibe on this, like, environmental dudes . . .   

       love the idea, but what about the food chain? kill off (or seriously deplete) one species' numbers, and you affect all the other little dudes on either side of the food chain. Sure you hate mozzies, we all do, but what about all the other creatures that eat the mozzies, or otherwise depend on them for a continued, rewarding and fulfilling lifestyle? Just ask an Aussie about how buggering about with the ecosphere can really screw you up (cane toads, anyone?)
fudspong, Feb 06 2004

       Yes, but the proliferation of mosquitoes caused by the tyres is not part of the natural ecology. This is more like cancelling out an existing problem.
Detly, Feb 06 2004

       Hi Detly - no disrespect intended, but I feel that you're missing my point just a teensy bit. The proliferation casued by mosquitoes in car tyres has not until recently been a part of the natural ecology, but nature abhors a vacuum (or an unused niche) so therefore the mozzie / car tyre situation is now a grounded part of our ecosphere. Like I said about the Aussies, they caused a (much bigger) problem by trying to fix a problem that they caused. Nature has a balance which we are part of, like it or not. We do our best to screw with it, but no matter how off-balance it is, it's still some sort of balance. Anyway, mozzies in car tyres may be a relatively new phenomena, but mankind has been collecting still water for centuries in dams, artificial lakes, canals and ponds (bird-feeding tables?), and all they had to do to fix the problem was to burn the odd witch. Lucky bastards. Mind you, did witches use copper wire in their corsets? Sod it. You just can't do away with a part of the food chain without hurting other (possibly more benevolent - such as exterminators ha ha) species. Mozzies in car tyres IS part of the ecology, because we put the car tyres there, and we're part of the ecology. Man, where's my tofu-burger . . .   

       The upshot of my 2p's worth is: 1 - Copper in car tyres will probably kill all the mozzies there just like the strichnine bait at the bottom of my garden did for the next door neighbour's children, man. 2 - Somewhere along the line, someone (or something) innocent will suffer because of your actions (see above re: children).   

       Also, something I vaguely remember is seeing pictures of destitute, desperate people ripping apart the rotting hulks of previously seafaring ships with their bare hands, exposing themselves to extremely hazardous contaminants in exchange for a pitiful wage, in order to support themselves and their families, and in the process shortening their lives dramatically. Copper-impregnated tyre mountains will almost certainly end up in the same part of the world. Sorry for being pessimistic, man, but like y'know.
fudspong, Feb 06 2004

       Sorry, but if Aluminium causes Altzheimers, what the heck am I supposed to fry my eggs in?
fudspong, Feb 06 2004

Detly, Feb 06 2004

       methinks if i could fry eggs in a beryllium frying pan i wouldn't ever need to worry about mosquitoes again, detly - ps I like your website.   

       considering that most cookwear is made from aluminium, has there been any sort of whatsit on the effect of cooking with thingy on the short-term um . . .
fudspong, Feb 06 2004

       I tried this with pennies and the mosquito larvae did not die...
jvanzand, Feb 07 2004

       I have been thinking about the mechanism by which copper might prevent growth of mosquito larvae. When I posted this I assumed it was a direct toxic effect on the larvae. Since then I have read about how copper and copper salts are used to kill algae, prevent moss on roofs etc. Perhaps the copper ion in the water does not kill the mosquito larvae, but rather prevents the growth of algae available for them to eat. If the latter were the case, adding copper to an established population would not hurt them immediately.
bungston, Feb 08 2004

       Not for nothing, but ya'll should COOK in CAST IRON. Since we need iron in our diets anyway. Or cook in porclane coated iron. THe Best, stongest, longest lasting cookwear in the world. Aluminum and a lot of other things are toxic to humans but the US Gov't (FDA )and big business feel its ok if only a percentage of us get sick and die off. (sorry for being off topic)
welldone, Feb 13 2004

       Also, I do think its is a good, natural idea/ +1 from me
welldone, Feb 13 2004

       This idea has been floating here for over a year. Has any tire company shown any interest in this?   

       I still believe this is the best idea to ever come out of the HB and like to pop it back to the top occasionally.
Klaatu, Mar 06 2004

       Thanks, [Klaatu]. I think the thing to be done with this is some field biology: get ten tires, dope half with copper dust, then go out in early spring (now?) to a mosquito-prone area and set out the tires. Then go back and periodically sample water from the tires and count mosquito larvae. This could be a graduate student project, using undergrad labor.   

       But to answer your question - not that I know of. But then there is no reason the company would contact me!
bungston, Mar 06 2004

       I'm sure that you could pick up some copper shavings from a plumbing supply, or anywhere that they cut copper tubing. These wouldn't quite be "dust", but should still have enough surface area to work.   

       Keep us posted [bungston].
Klaatu, Mar 06 2004

       Great idea. I'm sure it will fly if you just get some tire exec to think it was his idea. Too bad that Noah didn't squash the two mosquitoes he had on board !
shaver4077, Mar 07 2004

       Or just the female.
FarmerJohn, Mar 07 2004

       Ideally, you'd want the copper to be 'powdery' to maximise surface area and minimise quantity. You'd also want to have it applied at the start of the tyre's life-cycle (e.g. manufacture or fitting stage).   

       During the tyre's life its surfaces will be constantly flexing, expanding and contracting which would presumably cause any lightly adhered 'power' to be shed from the inner surface. Might this be a problem: the loose [and now heavily oxidised] copper dust just blows away on removing the tyre; or even a benefit: the heavy, loose copper settles in exactly the same place as water collects?
Nick Perry, Mar 08 2004

       This is what I found in a book of ecotoxicology:   

       "Copper is used to control growth of algae, bactaria, and fungi... It is a biocide in marine antifoulant paints and in wood preservatives. It is toxic at high concentrations, but it is easily complexed by dissolved organic matters in solution, which reduces the biologically available fraction. "(29 Newman, Michael C. et al. Fundamentals of Ecotoxicology 2nd ed. Lewis Publishers. 2003.)   

       sounds like copper kills off larval food rather than larva themselves. also it doesn't seem to be seriously poluting. (also, the book implies that zinc is less toxic than copper.)   

       A great idea!
synergy, Apr 30 2004

       Good thinking, I'm jealous. Around here recycling tires is mandatory, you can't even burn one. But still there are mountains of them rubber donuts waiting to be processed, and even a single tire con host many many mosquitoes over a single season. Golden croissant.
finflazo, Apr 30 2004

       Brilliant. Completely, totally, brilliant.   


       Deadly to west-nile bearing mosquitos.   

       And, actually, the industry it would spawn is probably a good thing - the companies that strip copper from old tires could also grind up the tires for resale to government entities, which use recycled tires in pavement to increase lifespan and quality of roads (like superhighways).
shapu, Jun 03 2004

       A great idea, but I think perhaps having the copper applied when the tires are removed to be discarded would be better, as you would not need the tire mfgrs to do anything different.   

       Auto supply stores already charge a disposal fee for batteries, so the precedent is already there and a quick squirt of copper spray paint would do the trick. it also works on tires that are already in use now.   

       The west nile panic might be just the thing to make this happen. I am going to write a letter to my congressman today about this.
macrumpton, Jun 04 2004

       You'd have to consider the impact of the copper upon the local environment, as well as the roads.
RayfordSteele, Jun 05 2004

       As an environmentalist, I'd have to say any environmental risk of the copper is far outweighed by the benefits. Other stuff in the tire is far more toxic than the small amout of copper you would need. Yes tires should be recycled like the one guy said but tires for recyling tend to sit around for a while breeding mosquitoes. Also I belive that West Nile Virus is one of the few public health concerns that is not overhyped. Good idea. I'd like to see some research done to determine is copper really is the best choice as a mosquito-cide in tires. Sounds very promising.
tedhaubrich, Jun 07 2004

       I was under the impression that tire rubber couldn't be effectively recycled into anything else because of the processing it has undergone, reuse of the rubber is a different matter, as an interesting and slightly more on topic point, the UK uses copper waterpipes in all modern buildings, shirley if copper getting into ground water was a problem somone would have noticed by now.
engineer1, Jun 08 2004

       [engineer1]: You're correct - the rubber can't be recycled.   

       But what CAN (and nowadays is) done with it is to have the tires ground up into ittybitty chunks, which are then added to standard road asphalt. The resilience and squashability of the rubber helps the roadbed maintain structural integrity that would normally be compromised by heat expansion, cold contraction, or high-weight vehicles.
shapu, Jul 02 2004

       This would be good--except it would turn tires into hazardous waste. I'm all for killimg mosquitos, but putting heavy metals into something that is going to be thrown away is a bad idea. (My father used to be an environmental engineer, and poisonous metals in the groundwater is a rather unpleasant and sadly common thing he had to deal with)
5th Earth, Jul 02 2004

       i think that its a double edged sword whichever way you look at it, which is the lesser of two evils, small amounts of copper (being returned to the earth they were ripped from) or, disease carrying, filth encrusted, malaria, mosquitos...im for whiping out the nasty buggers, that would help seal pandoras box a tad. i think all the pinko environmentalists need to go hang out in a mosquito laden environment, minus the ozone depleting bug spray.
justmeinthehalfbakery, Jul 25 2004

       i think the mosquitos are not as bad a problem as if a yard of copper tires floated away into the ocean by a flood or something. Remember, lots of fish species are invertebrates...
croissantz, Aug 11 2004

       //lots of fish speices are invertibrates...//
Even assuming you mean "species" and "invertebrates", you're wrong (as any high school (even elementary school?) biology text book will tell you).
Worldgineer, Aug 11 2004

       Could also stuff tires with rosemary.It would keep away the mosquitos and tire fires would smell like the Bakery...as it stands, go fish! It's a good idea that would benfit humankind, but insects are vital to birds and even us.A good solution's effect would have to limited to the tire itself. No bleed off and biodegradable.
Around TUIT, Aug 11 2004

       This needs to be rebunned. It hasn't been forgotten. Ha! I get to be the first bun this time, it's sorta like going back in time to invest in stocks. +++
sartep, Oct 07 2004

       Not sure how this affects the end result of this idea, but copper has become so valuable now that...well, you've all read the stories of houses, streetlamps, and beloved gifts from the French being stripped bare.
shapu, Feb 21 2009

       Related to this idea, I heard that some hospitals are changing from plastic to brass doorknobs. Apparently the copper content of brass helps kill the antibiotic-resistant hospital bugs which are otherwise spread around hospitals by people touching doorknobs and handles. Plastic computer keyboards are another great place for various nasties to live and propogate - again, this could be mitigated by having a brass keyboard, which would look rather cool as well.
hippo, Oct 06 2010

       //copper has become so valuable now // I don't think you'd need a lot of copper to make this work - probably not enough to cover the costs of recovering it.   

       Also, there are probably other substances which could be incorporated into tyres to the same effect.   

MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 06 2010

       You can use copper in fish tanks to kill diseases, but it also kills all of your invertebrates, so having copper in rivers and seas is not a good idea.
marklar, Oct 06 2010

       I think that lethal concentrations of copper would not occur in moving water. Moving water is not where mosquito larvae live either.   

       I suspect that the metallic copper does not directly kill the mosquitoes. I have found that you can add big chunks of copper wire to a tank full of mosquito larvae and they do not care. I think presence of copper in the water from the getgo suppresses growth of algae that feed the mosquitoes, which in turn suppresses mosquitoes.
bungston, Oct 06 2010

       // there are probably other substances //   

       Cadmium, Bismuth, Arsenic, Antimony, Silver ...   

       Toxicity [+]
8th of 7, Oct 06 2010

       But would this also reduce the dragonfly nymphs that eat mosquito larvae and therefore also the adult dragonfly that eat adult mosquitoes?   

       There are other predators, but not that line in car tyres.
marklar, Oct 07 2010

       Ideally, there would be some profit for the manufacturers in this. At one time, tire manufacturers paid extra for titanium dioxide, did they not, to make "white-walls?" Perhaps one could engineer a fad for "green-walls" colored with copper (or some compound that leached metallic copper). The ad campaign would of course be based on the double meaning of "green."
mouseposture, Oct 08 2010

       Copper additive in the wear rubber is definitely a bad idea, as enough will end up in the water cycle (this is already a problem for several substances coming off tires). A couple of bands around the inside away from the tread would probably be okay, as they would only be exposed when the tire either blew out (rare) or was left to sit as this idea is intended.
MechE, Oct 11 2010


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