A ubiquitous tire rubber-derived chemical induces acute mortality in coho salmon

Science. 2021 Jan 8;371(6525):185-189. doi: 10.1126/science.abd6951. Epub 2020 Dec 3.


In U.S. Pacific Northwest coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch), stormwater exposure annually causes unexplained acute mortality when adult salmon migrate to urban creeks to reproduce. By investigating this phenomenon, we identified a highly toxic quinone transformation product of N-(1,3-dimethylbutyl)-N'-phenyl-p-phenylenediamine (6PPD), a globally ubiquitous tire rubber antioxidant. Retrospective analysis of representative roadway runoff and stormwater-affected creeks of the U.S. West Coast indicated widespread occurrence of 6PPD-quinone (<0.3 to 19 micrograms per liter) at toxic concentrations (median lethal concentration of 0.8 ± 0.16 micrograms per liter). These results reveal unanticipated risks of 6PPD antioxidants to an aquatic species and imply toxicological relevance for dissipated tire rubber residues.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants*
  • Benzoquinones*
  • Northwestern United States
  • Oncorhynchus kisutch* / physiology
  • Phenylenediamines*
  • Rubber* / chemistry
  • Rubber* / toxicity


  • Antioxidants
  • Benzoquinones
  • N-(1,3-dimethylbutyl)-N'-phenyl-1,4-phenylenediamine
  • Phenylenediamines
  • Rubber
  • N-(1,3-dimethylbutyl)-N'-phenyl-p-phenylenediamine quinone