"Car Tire Chemicals Are Killing Salmon And Steelhead"

"The chemical 6PPD, added to tires to prevent degradation, is causing a “complete breakdown of the blood brain barrier” in fish, a new study found."

"Since the early 2000s, Barb French observed an unexplainable phenomenon among coho salmon in the Pacific Northwest’s Puget Sound.

When the fish returned to their natal streams to spawn, a point in their life cycle when they are typically in excellent health, they behaved strangely.

“They’d swim into the banks of the creeks,” French, a researcher at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told EHN. “They were very disoriented, even swimming sideways.” The fish lost their sense of direction, gaping their mouths at the water’s surface and splaying their fins. Within a few hours, they would die.

Last year, a group of Washington researchers pinpointed the cause of these mass fish kills: 6PPD, a chemical added to tires to prevent them from breaking down. When 6PPD, which has been used in tires since the 1970s according to the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association, reacts with ozone in the atmosphere, it creates 6PPD-quinone (6PPD-q), a compound that leaches into urban stormwater and watersheds. This derivative chemical has proven difficult to identify and study and is even harder to regulate given that the chemicals in tires are proprietary and not disclosed by tire manufacturers."

Katherine Raphael reports for Environmental Health News November 21, 2022.

Source: EHN, 11/22/2022