After 1 January 2021, it won’t be possible to order a 2021 model year Chevrolet Camaro SS, ZL1 or 1LE in California or Washington State. The reason, perhaps unexpectedly, is fish-related.
All of those Camaro derivatives have one thing in common: the presence of copper in their brake pads. As the pads wear, copper is released into the atmosphere, with some of the particulate matter ending up in waterways. Studies have shown copper to be toxic to salmon and other aquatic species, prompting efforts among legislators and carmakerscarmakers to curb the use of the material in pads. In Washington State from 2021, all new cars must have less than five per cent copper in their pads, dropping to 0.5 per cent in 2025.
Senior General Motors communications manager Kevin M. Kelly confirmed this to be the reason for the discontinuation. “Due to restrictions in California and Washington state related to copper brake pads, customers in those states cannot order a 2021 Camaro SS, ZL1 and 1LE for delivery after January 1, 2021,” he told GM Authority, adding, “Customers can, however, purchase these models from available dealer stock in those states”.
Kelly noted that sales of the affected derivatives will resume in the two states once the 2022 model year examples are introduced with compliant brake pads.
In similar news, it’s emerged that 6PPD-quinone, an antioxidant used in tyres, can also be fatal to coho salmon. As with the copper in brake pads, this chemical has been found to end up in streams and rivers from particulate matter released by tyres as they wear.