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Transportation agencies may be forced to take action to help protect fish

An Arizona-based conservation group filed a notice to sue the Oregon and California state transportation agencies over the impact on vulnerable salmon populations of a toxic chemical used in car tires.

The letter – filed last week by the Center for Biological Diversity – argues that these state agencies haven’t properly taken into account the effects of this chemical, called 6PPD, on waterways.

CBD Senior Attorney Emily Jeffers says the effects of this chemical may also extend beyond salmon populations.

“Because it’s in tires around the world, there are really implications that reverberate worldwide. Because it’s very likely that a lot of different aquatic organisms react to this chemical. And we’re still at the cusp of figuring out how broad the implications are.”

6PPD is used in tires to extend their lifespan. It rubs off when driving and can wash away into nearby streams. A 2021 study found the chemical was highly toxic to coho salmon, and contributed to major die-offs in urban streams.

Jeffers says they want state agencies to consider the impacts of this chemical on nearby salmon populations when approving road projects.

Copyright 2023 Jefferson Public Radio.

The Jefferson Exchange Team