EPA to investigate chemicals linked to tribe’s salmon deaths

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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will review chemicals used in tire manufacturing in response to a petition from three Native American tribes that cited their history of killing salmon.

This summer, the Yurok Tribe of California and the Port Gamble, Sclallam and Puyallup Tribes of Washington state are cutting back on rubber preservatives used in most tire production due to damage to local salmon populations on their way to spawning grounds. We have petitioned the authorities to consider banning the use of the drug 6PPD.

Tribes represented by Earthjustice said in an August petition that the chemical’s byproduct, 6PPD-quinone (6PPD-q), is the second most toxic to aquatic species ever recorded by the EPA. He pointed out that it is a chemical substance and is second only to the present. The banned pesticide parathion.

Exposure to 6PPD-q has been associated with death of coho salmon within hours and so-called urban runoff mortality syndrome, in which adult coho salmon die before returning to freshwater waterways to spawn.

“Today, EPA is taking action in response to our tribal partners to protect coho salmon, which are an important part of tribal cultural identity and economic security,” said a deputy from the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. Commissioner Michal Friedhoff said. statement.

“These salmon and other fish have suffered dramatic population declines for many years. Addressing the use of 6PPD-quinone and its parent 6PPD in the environment will reverse this trend. That’s one way we can work towards that.”

The EPA noted in a statement that some data show the chemical is toxic to fish, but the effects on human health remain ambiguous. The agency expects to have a final rule by the end of 2024.

“This petition is a huge victory for Naypuy (salmon) and the planet. The Yurok people joined because we are fishermen and we understand the cultural and ecological importance of salmon.” Tribal President Joseph L. James said in a statement to The Hill.

“We cannot stand idly by while 6PPD kills the fish that sustain us. This deadly toxin has no use in salmon-rich watersheds. I won’t stand.”

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