US fishing group sues tire-makers for using poisonous chemicals

As heard on Episode 95 of Outdoor Journal Radio, the issue of chemicals from car tires leeching into waterways has once again entered the news, this time thanks to a group of concerned anglers.

The chemical in question is known as 6PPD-quinone, used to slow down the degradation of tires but linked to substantial, often fatal, damage to trout and salmon when it leeches from roads into rivers. In fact, this chemical is so lethal to salmonids that it has been listed as the second most toxic chemical to aquatic species ever evaluated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Exposure to 6PPD-q has been known to kill coho salmon within hours, and the chemical is responsible for “urban runoff mortality syndrome,” which kills up to 100% of coho returning to spawn in many urban streams.

how 6ppd gets into our waterways

via Western Fisheries Research Center

Despite this knowledge, very little has been done thus far to push back against the chemical’s use in manufacturing, until, this November, when a group of concerned commercial anglers filed the first official lawsuit.

On November 8th, the Institute for Fisheries Resources (IFR) and the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations (PCFFA) officially filed suit against U.S. tire manufacturers over the use of the chemical 6PPD in rubber tires.

“There is simply no excuse, now that the science is clear how toxic 6PPD-q is to fish, for the tire industry to keep using 6PPD,” said Glen Spain, executive director of IFR and PCFFA. “To keep using a chemical not only pushing valuable salmon runs toward extinction but also destroying fishing-dependent jobs up and down the west coast should not be allowed.”

The fishing groups brought their enforcement action under Section 9 of the ESA against 13 of the largest U.S. tire manufacturers, including Michelin, Goodyear, and Bridgestone.

There has not yet been a date set for the lawsuit to be heard in court, but we will be sure to keep you updated on future episodes of Outdoor Journal Radio and right here at!

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