Thursday, December 22, 2011

Take Action Against Methyl Iodide, Used on Strawberries

The latest action alert from Pesticide Action Network focuses on methyl iodide, a known carcinogen essential to California's conventional strawberry crop:
We’ve pitched a long battle here in California to keep the cancer-causing pesticide methyl iodide out of strawberry fields. Getting it banned here will make a national ban all the more likely. Some 90% of the nation’s strawberries are grown here. So without a CA market, methyl iodide just isn’t viable. That’s the strategy.

We need national public will to make this work, and we need another push today.

TAKE ACTION. With your help, we’ve held the line by “doing democracy” daily. We’ve written letters, called decision makers, passed local resolutions, held hearings, hosted farm tours and press conferences and more. None of this work is glamorous, and it is all incremental: every little bit builds on the many little bits before. And it works!

We’re told that the new head of the state’s Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) will be appointed around the new year and that this person will either formalize the de facto ban on methyl iodide that we’ve seen this last year, or not. Let’s make sure the agency knows we’re still watching — and that keeping this carcinogenic chemical out of California must be a priority for the new year.

TAKE ACTION. Last March, Brown said he’d “take a fresh look” at the methyl iodide decision. Since then, memos have gone public showing that the decision was based on political calculations with no defensible basis in science. Whomever Brown appoints to head DPR must take swift action to reverse this bad decision.

Meanwhile, we thank you for a year of devoted, democratic action. Together we’ve held a very real line here in California.

• Arysta’s PR people have told reporters that they “don’t call it ‘methyl iodide’ anymore because the public thinks ‘methyl iodide’ means poison.”

• When asked why they don’t to use a fumigant that we are told is absolutely essential to California’s agricultural industry, farmers say, in effect, “because it’s expensive, we can make do without it, and ‘those activists have been very effective.’”

“Those activists” are us! Let’s stay effective and keep the pressure on.


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