Toxic Tires Killing Washington Salmon

Kristin Pyle, Reporter

For the last two decades a species of fish called the Coho Salmon has been mysteriously dying while traveling through streams and rivers connecting to the Puget Sound. Their deaths have affected the fish’s population because they die before they can lay eggs. This is a cause for concern because other native species rely heavily on these salmon to survive. Endangered species like the Southern Resident orca whale are one of many. As the problem progressed, it caught the attention of a group of researchers who discovered the killer¬†in 2020. A chemical known as 6PPD-quinone is released from the tires on our cars and mixes with dust on the roadway. With Washington’s heavy rains the toxic chemical is washed away into any nearby streams or rivers, the exact rivers the Coho Salmon run through. Tribal governments, interest groups, federal, state, and local organizations are coming together to find a way to reduce storm-water pollution and reduce the sources of 6PPD altogether. Funding from the Legislature will aid scientists in finding a way to reduce the harmful impact we have seen from the toxic chemical.¬†