Keep Methyl Iodide out of California

Strawberry workersScientists from across the country have completed a rigorous review of the evidence on methyl iodide. Their report: "adequate control of human exposure would be difficult, if not impossible."

Methyl iodide is a water contaminant, nervous system poison, thyroid toxicant and is known to cause cancer. "A chemical used to create cancer cells in laboratories has no place being broadcast into the environment near where people live, work and play," said Ed Zuroweste, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Migrant Clinicians Network. "Our communities are not lab rats."

Tell U.S. EPA to follow the science and re-evaluate the carcinogen methyl iodide. Sign the petition below.



Dear Steven Owens and Steven Bradbury,

I am writing to request that the Agency reevaluate its decision to register methyl iodide as a soil fumigant, due to the scientific findings brought to light during California’s review process. This chemical poses extremely high risks to children, pregnant women and farmworkers, and has the potential to contaminate our scarce groundwater resources with high levels of iodide.

As you are aware, methyl iodide soil fumigation products were registered by your agency in 2007 despite serious concerns raised by 55 scientists who are members of the National Academy of Sciences, five of them Nobel Laureates. In a letter to U.S. EPA, the scientists stated, “It is astonishing then that the Office of Pesticide Programs is working to legalize broadcast releases of one of the more toxic chemicals used in manufacturing into the environment.”

This winter, the Scientific Review Committee completed its review of the California Department of Pesticide Regulation’s methyl iodide risk assessment, concluding:

“Based on the data available, we know that methyl iodide is a highly toxic chemical and we expect that any anticipated scenario for the agricultural or structural fumigation use of this agent would result in exposures to a large number of the public and thus would have a significant adverse impact on the public health. Due to the potent toxicity of methyl iodide, its transport in and ultimate fate in the environment, adequate control of human exposure would be difficult, if not impossible. This is clearly shown in the DPR risk calculations and the evidence of the toxicity of methyl iodide upon which these conclusions are based is compelling. In addition to the evidence for significant toxicity there is a lack of information that adds further uncertainty to the evaluation of the toxicity. We have concluded there is little doubt that the compound possesses significant toxicity.

Furthermore, this is coupled with a major lack of critical health effects data that could make the upside to all of the risk calculations even higher, as noted above. Specifically, several areas in the exposure assessment could lead to estimated margins of exposure even smaller than those presented in the report; examples include: inhalation rates, environmental temperature, emission rates, skin exposure, the assumption of the adequacy of the respirator protection factors, the hours in a workday, and potential water contamination.”

This is an issue of children’s health and environmental justice. The science is strong. It is time for a re-evaluation. We urge you to immediately reevaluate the Agency’s decision to register methyl iodide as a soil fumigant.
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