Keep methyl iodide out of California
California should be leading the way in safe and sustainable agriculture -- not losing ground.
For the first time in many years, California's Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) is considering adding a new fumigant to its list of pesticides approved for agricultural use. Methyl iodide has been approved nationally, rejected by New York, and is now up for review in California.
Methyl iodide is a known carcinogen so dangerous that over 50 scientists -- 5 of them Nobel Laureates -- sent a letter to the EPA expressing astonishment that the US is "working to legalize broadcast releases of one of the more toxic chemicals used in manufacturing into the environment."
As the largest market for this new chemical, California's choice will send a clear signal to methyl iodide's manufacturer, and the EPA has indicated that California's decision will have an impact on national use. Now is the time to stop methyl iodide in its tracks.
Sign the petition today! Join thousands of people asking state officials to hold the line in California by refusing to register methyl iodide.
Your name will be added to the following petition letter. Thank you!
Dear Ms. Warmerdam,
I am writing to urge the Department of Pesticide Regulation not to register methyl iodide as a soil fumigant in California for any uses. Methyl iodide is a known carcinogen prone to drift - it has no appropriate place as a new chemical in California agriculture.
EPA registered this chemical last year despite serious concerns from environmentalists, farm workers, rural residents and a group of over 50 eminent scientists, including five Nobel Laureates. These scientists sent a letter to EPA expressing profound concern for the health of people living near methyl iodide application sites – especially pregnant women, farmworkers, children and the elderly:
"Because of methyl iodide's high volatility and water solubility, broad use of this chemical in agriculture will guarantee substantial releases to air, surface waters and groundwater, and will result in exposures for many people. In addition to the potential for increased cancer incidence, EPA's own evaluation of the chemical also indicates that methyl iodide causes thyroid toxicity, permanent neurological damage, and fetal losses in experimental animals." "It is astonishing that the Office of Pesticide Programs (of USEPA) is working to legalize broadcast releases of one of the more toxic chemicals used in manufacturing into the environment."
There is overwhelming evidence of potential harm from exposure to this pesticide – a chemical so toxic that scientists take precautions to use methyl iodide in a ventilation hood in very small quantities. In contrast, if registered as a soil fumigant, methyl iodide would be applied in agricultural fields at rates up to 175 pounds per acre. Since fumigants spread as a gas, they drift from the application site, poisoning neighboring residents and farm workers in nearby fields.
Methyl iodide is a clear threat to public health, could contaminate groundwater and is not needed to build a secure, viable and healthy agricultural economy in California.
Thank you for your serious consideration,