Share this Post:

unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

California Ignores Its Own Scientists on Dangerous Pesticide

    SIGN-UP for our latest news and action alerts:
   Please leave this field empty

Facebook Fans

Related Blog Entries

by Trip Van Noppen:
Farmworkers Savor Sweet Taste of Victory

Last month—less than a year after Earthjustice sued to protect strawberry field workers from a deadly pesticide—the maker of that pesticid...

by David Lawlor:
Big Victory For Strawberry Lovers

Do you like to eat strawberries grown without cancer-causing fumigants? You do! Well then, have I got some news for you! Last night, Arysta LifeScien...

by David Lawlor:
Monterey County Says No To Methyl Iodide

This week, Monterey County, California gave a better-than-roses Valentine’s Day present to its roughly 415,000 residents. Following in the foots...

Earthjustice on Twitter

View David Lawlor's blog posts
25 August 2011, 10:23 AM
Internal documents reveal toxic secrets behind approval of methyl iodide

Applying a cancer-causing poison on California’s farm fields sounds like some dastardly plot hatched by a Batman super-villain. Unfortunately, reality is often scarier than fiction.

In December 2010, the state approved the known carcinogen methyl iodide for use on the farm fields. Yes, you read that right—a chemical that actually causes cancer was approved to be applied on the fields that grow the Golden State’s prized crops.

Earthjustice promptly filed a lawsuit in January challenging the state’s approval of the toxic pesticide. Because of that lawsuit, Earthjustice recently obtained internal documents detailing dire warnings about methyl iodide from scientists at the California Department of Pesticide Regulation. Unfortunately, those warnings fell on deaf ears and then-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger approved methyl iodide for use.

Methyl iodide, produced by the agri-chemical concern Arysta Life Sciences, is a highly toxic pesticide that kills weeds, insects, nematodes, soil borne pathogens and basically anything else that lives below ground. The chemical is most threatening to the men and women who work in California’s strawberry fields where the majority of the pesticide will be applied. Those farm workers risk eye irritation, nausea, central nervous system disorders, late-term miscarriages and the aforementioned cancer.

State experts weren’t alone in warning about the dangers of widespread use of the cancer-causing poison. Fifty eminent scientists, including six Nobel Laureates in Chemistry, said methyl iodide is one of the more toxic chemicals used in manufacturing. California’s own Scientific Review Committee agreed. Dr. John Froines, chair of the committee, told the press: “I honestly think that this chemical will cause disease and illness. And so does everyone else on the committee.”

Earthjustice’s lawsuit claims that the state’s approval of methyl iodide violated the California Environmental Quality Act, the California Birth Defects Prevention Act, and the Pesticide Contamination Prevention Act. The suit also contends that the state failed to involve the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment in the development of farmworker safety regulations. Failing a settlement, the case could be heard as early as January 2012.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <p> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <blockquote>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

Type the characters you see in this picture. (verify using audio)
Type the characters you see in the picture above; if you can't read them, submit the form and a new image will be generated. Not case sensitive.