Tire preservative chemical responsible for killing returning salmon

Puget Sound, Seattle, Washington, USA: Researchers have discovered that a formerly unknown chemical, 6PPD, in vehicle tires (tyres) which preserves them from ground level ozone, ends up killing salmon in streams. Bits if tire are thrown off tires due to wear and tear. Rain water washes the chemical from these particles.

Tire chemical washed into streams

Tire chemical washed into streams which kills salmon. Screenshot.

6PPD reacts with ozone to create many chemicals including 6PPD-quinone. This chemical is washed from the roads into storm drains and then to urban creeks and streams where the coho salmon are situated every fall. Some die and in some streams all of them die before they can spawn.

The video explains it neatly:

They are rightly delighted that they have been able to identify a single, new chemical. It is very unusual to have a success like this.

They want ‘salmon safe tires’. And tires that are safe for humans. How about that? Salmon safe tires. Wow. I am in awe of these guys and ladies.

This is a video which shows how a multi-step chemical separation process was used to narrow down the huge number of chemicals that might have killed the salmon.

Click the link to read the full article on the washington.edu website if you wish. This gets to the point very quickly and the video adds some detail.


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