California is on the verge of approving a potent carcinogenic gas for use on strawberry fields and other food crops.
The chemical -- methyl iodide -- is so toxic that scientists in labs use only small amounts with special protective equipment, yet agricultural applications mean it could be released directly into the air and water.
Methyl iodide is a known neurotoxin, disrupts thyroid function, damages developing fetuses, and has caused lung tumors in laboratory animals. California already classifies it as a human carcinogen. Fumigating fields with the gas -- even with the strictest regulations -- would no doubt still result in unacceptable exposures to farmworkers and surrounding populations.
We have one last chance to stop methyl iodide from being used on our food. California's Department of Pesticide Regulation is accepting public comments on its proposal through June 28. Submit your comment today and send the incontrovertible message that we don't want the public or our food exposed to this poison.
Dear Ms. Warmerdam,
I am deeply concerned with the pending approval of methyl iodide for use on strawberries and other food crops in California. Methyl iodide is a known human carcinogen, as well as a neurotoxin and disruptor of thyroid function. It can be especially damaging during fetal development, and it has no business being used as a fumigant in the open atmosphere.
I realize that the DPR has recently completed a study of the chemical. However, the conclusions seem deeply flawed. Scientists on the external panel that reviewed the DPR's findings on methyl iodide even stated that agricultural use would "result in exposures to a large number of the public and thus would have a significant adverse impact on public health."
Even the strictest regulations on application will surely not prevent exposure of workers, surrounding populations, and wildlife to this hazardous chemical.
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I would like to register my emphatic opposition to the proposed approval of methyl iodide, and urge you and the DPR to immediately withdraw the recommendation to approve its agricultural use. The public health of all Californians demands no less.
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