Thursday, June 24, 2010


The following appeal to help keep methyl iodide out of agricultural use in California comes from the United Farm Workers.

Take Action to Keep Methyl Iodide Out of California Fields

Comment period expires in a week on June 29th

California is on the verge of approving a dangerous carcinogenic gas for use on strawberry fields and other food crops. Methyl Iodide is so toxic that scientists in labs use only small amounts and wear special protective equipment. In fact it’s so reliably carcinogenic that it’s used to induce cancer in the lab. It’s a fumigant so there is a constant threat of it drifting to farm workers and rural communities.

Yet the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) is on the verge of approving its use in the fields. They are doing this despite their Independent California Scientific Review Committee (SRC) issuing a final report (PDF), which found (PDF) that "any anticipated scenario for the agricultural…use of this agent would…have a significant adverse impact on the public health."

Last Thursday a Sacramento hearing was convened by the California Senate Food and Agriculture Committee, where members of the panel testified. Dr. John Froines of UCLA who chaired the committee, said, "This is, without question, one of the most toxic chemicals on earth." DPR does not seem to be listening to the scientists they hired.

Please help. If Methyl Iodide use is approved, this toxic poison can be released directly into California’s air. We have to stop this. The DPR is accepting public comments on its proposal through June 28. Please take the time to send an e-mail to the DPR immediately and ask them not to release this toxin into our environment.

There is little to debate about Methyl Iodide’s toxicity. It 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 farm workers and nearby communities.

We have one last chance to stop Methyl Iodide from being used in our fields. Please submit your comment today and tell DPR that we don’t want to be exposed to this poison.

Please go to this link to send the following letter to the California Department of Pesticide Regulation.

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 understand that the DPR has recently completed a study of the chemical. Scientists on the external panel that reviewed the DPR's findings on methyl iodide 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." I don’t understand how you can release this dangerous toxin into Californias’s environment, with these findings.

Even the strictest regulations on application will surely not prevent exposure of workers and nearby communities to this hazardous chemical.

Please do not go ahead with your proposed approval of methyl iodide. I ask the DPR to take responsibility and immediately withdraw the recommendation to approve its agricultural use. The public health of all Californians demands no less.

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