Thursday, March 22, 2012

Dangerous Fumigant Methyl Iodide Pulled from U.S. Market

I received a great email alert yesterday from the Pesticide Action Network trumpeting the announcement by chemical company Arysta LifeScience (love the name!) that it was pulling the dangerous fumigant methyl iodide from the United States market. (Arysta's pet name for the product is MIDAS®; love the name!).
"It’s time to celebrate! Today, the pesticide that scientists called 'one of the most toxic chemicals on earth' is being pulled off the U.S. market altogether. This victory is a big one. Your voice and your action turned the tide.

"Thank you. You share this win with kids living and going to school near strawberry fields. You stand alongside families in rural communities, especially in California, Florida, Michigan, Washington and North Carolina, where these types of fumigant pesticides are more heavily used. Your action created a win for farmers and farmworkers alike, as California is now poised to instead invest in much safer, fumigant-free food and farming."
Methyl iodide, primarily intended for use on California's immense non-organic strawberry crop, was approved for use in the state in 2010 (as a replacement for another fumigant, methyl bromide, which is being phased out by international agreement). However, because of severe concern by many scientists (including five Nobel Laureates) about the safety of methyl iodide and California's approval process, the fumigant never caught on with farmers. (Only one California strawberry farmer used it in 2011.)

Still, this is a huge victory, as pullbacks by chemical companies not necessitated by law are few and far between. Score a win for People Power!

Also important is the fact that California is searching for safer ways to grow non-organic strawberries; click here to read the press release ("Department of Pesticide Regulation and California Strawberry Commission Announce Research Partnership to Reduce Fumigant Use on Strawberry Fields") from earlier this month.

Will our kids or grandkids soon be able to eat non-organic strawberries that are grown without toxic chemicals? Considering that organic strawberries are a luxury for many, let's hope so.

Click here to read the Los Angeles Times article about methyl iodide's demise. Click here to read the San Francisco Chronicle article about methyl iodide's demise. Click here to read the New York Times article about methyl iodide's demise.

No comments: