California Plans To Approve Supertoxic Pesticide

PlasticultureBy Peter Fimrite for SF Gate:

Farmers planting strawberries and other crops in California will soon have to contend with cancer-causing poison instead of bugs, worms and fungus if regulators get their wish.

The California Department of Pesticide Regulation has proposed registering methyl iodide as a pesticide in California to the dismay of scientists and environmental groups, who say it is so toxic that even chemists are reluctant to handle it.

The chemical will become legal for growers to use after a 60-day comment period ending June 29 unless there is some kind of public outcry.

“This is one of the most egregious pesticides out there,” said Sarah Aird, the state field organizer for Californians for Pesticide Reform, a coalition of watchdog groups opposed to the use of potentially harmful chemicals. “It is really, really toxic. It is actually used in the laboratory to induce cancer cells.”

Methyl iodide was approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2007 for use as a fumigant over the protests of more than two dozen California legislators and 54 scientists, including five Nobel laureates, who signed a letter opposing registration of the chemical…

[continues at SF Gate]

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  • Cerebralcaustc

    Seems as if the Pesticide Action Network is opposed to *all* pesticide use … while pesticides certainly have the potential for problems, they’ve also done a lot of good. Opposition to all pesticides seems like an extreme position that fails to consider unintended consequences. Remember when the pesticide DDT was banned and there were malaria outbreaks afterwords? In 1996, South Africa stopped using DDT specifically to target mosquitos, and there was a huge explosion of malaria deaths > http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC406307/?tool=pmcentrez <… so which is worse, thin-shelled bird’s eggs due to DDT toxicity, or thousands of human children dying from malaria? These are difficult questions requiring more than knee-jerk responses.

    My point is that there are benefits and consequences to everything, and all too often passionate activists seem to believe their “sacred vision” exempts them from responsibility for the unintended consequences of their actions. Browsing through the Pesticide Action Network’s website, I found no information showing that they considered the possible costs of their policy: what if small farmers are restricted from using pesticides and consequently go out of business because they lose too many crops to pests? The Pesticide Action Network doesn’t seem to care…

  • Cerebralcaustc

    Seems as if the Pesticide Action Network is opposed to *all* pesticide use … while pesticides certainly have the potential for problems, they've also done a lot of good. Opposition to all pesticides seems like an extreme position that fails to consider unintended consequences. Remember when the pesticide DDT was banned and there were malaria outbreaks afterwords? In 1996, South Africa stopped using DDT specifically to target mosquitos, and there was a huge explosion of malaria deaths > http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC406… <… so which is worse, thin-shelled bird's eggs due to DDT toxicity, or thousands of human children dying from malaria? These are difficult questions requiring more than knee-jerk responses.

    My point is that there are benefits and consequences to everything, and all too often passionate activists seem to believe their “sacred vision” exempts them from responsibility for the unintended consequences of their actions. Browsing through the Pesticide Action Network's website, I found no information showing that they considered the possible costs of their policy: what if small farmers are restricted from using pesticides and consequently go out of business because they lose too many crops to pests? The Pesticide Action Network doesn't seem to care…

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