Recent research by our partners at the University of Washington and Washington State University has identified a specific chemical in tire rubber that is killing countless Coho salmon right before they spawn in streams across the region. Other species of salmon are likely affected to varying degrees. The chemical 6PPD appears to be universally used in all tires currently made. Unfortunately, we don’t have any Salmon-Safe certified tires to offer yet (though we are actively supporting that pursuit). In the meantime, the best thing we can do is to keep building rain gardens and trying to get more of them installed wherever roadway runoff gets into salmon streams (which in our region is almost anywhere there are roads and parking lots).
To help car tires — and maybe salmon runs — last longer:
- Drive less. Fewer miles driven equals less tire dust. Consider if you can walk, bike or bus to your destination instead of driving.
- Keep tires properly inflated and maintained.
- Drive less aggressively: Don’t “lay rubber” when accelerating or braking.
- Drive small. Small cars shed about half as much tire dust per mile as large cars, according to European studies. Trucks shed several times more.
To find out more about this vital cutting edge research here is the original research article. Media coverage of this research has been done by The Seattle Times, The New York Times, Motor Trend, NW Public Broadcasting and more.