Investigation Urged into Toxic Chemical Impacts on Coho Salmon

Fourteen members of the U.S. House of Representatives are calling for an investigation into effects of 6PPD-quinone, a highly toxic degradation product from tires and recycled rubber on endangered salmon, aquatic species and watersheds nationwide.

The House members told the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service the chemical may be contributing to widespread salmon mortality and would have profound implications for salmon recovery efforts.

“Given the dismal trajectory of West Coast salmon populations, your agencies should be working with great urgency to gain a better understanding of this threat and to take any necessary actions to address it,” they said.

The Aug. 19 letter was signed by California Representatives Jared Huffman, chair of the Natural Resources Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee and Katie Porter chair of the Natural Resources Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee. Also signing were Washington Rep. Marilyn Strickland, and 11 other representatives from Arizona, California, Florida, Oregon, Tennessee and Washington state.

The Congressmen and women posed seven specific questions, including how the agencies would evaluate the impacts of 6PPD-quinone of salmonids and other species, and how they are working with researchers and stakeholders to understand and address the impacts of 6PPD-qinone. They also asked what NOAA and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service were doing to monitor watersheds where 6PPD-Quinone is present and to understand its impact on aquatic ecosystems.

Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, was not among signers of the letter, but said he takes the potential threat of toxic chemical on salmon stocks very seriously and has been monitoring legislative developments surrounding 6PPD-quinone. During a recent Natural Resources Committee hearing on chemicals and their effects on salmon, Young said he called for greater research into 6PPD-quinone and its impacts on Alaska’s salmon.