EPA to Re-Examine Carcinogenic Pesticide, Methyl Iodide? | Change.org News
Wow - some hope ahead. Some actions listed at the bottom of this article.
and note. of course it is agricultural workers who are still being poisoned..
A few days ago, Change.org brought you news about the resignation of Mary-Ann Warmerdam, the head of California's Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR) who approved the carcinogenic pesticide, methyl iodide, for use in the state. The vacancy leaves the door open for a new leader who hopefully cares more about the environment and consumers' health than agrochemical firms' bottom lines.
Warmerdam's desk chair isn't even cold yet, and there's more encouraging news concerning methyl iodide: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently opened a 30-day public comment period on the national use of methyl iodide, a pesticide so poisonous that it's used in lab settings to grow cancer cells. Folks have until April 30th to raise a ruckus over methyl iodide. With the science community, environmentalists, public health experts, and basically everyone else opposed to the pesticide's use, you can bet that the EPA will be getting an ear-full.
The public comment period came about one year after Earthjustice, an environmental non-profit, filed a formal petition with the EPA (pdf) on the behalf of a coalition of environmental, health, and farmworker advocacy groups. The petition asks the EPA to reconsider its 2007 approval of methyl iodide, citing widespread public health and environmental concerns.
"The science is in," said Susan Kegley, a consulting scientist with Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA), in a press release. "An immediate withdrawal of methyl iodide from the market is the best strategy for preventing adverse effects from this highly toxic pesticide. Unless U.S. EPA wants to see more groundwater contamination, increasing numbers of late-term miscarriages in women who live or work near methyl iodide applications, more thyroid disease, and more cancers, they need to get this dangerous chemical off the market."
Indeed, methyl iodide is a scarily toxic brew. As Kegley explained, exposure to the neurotoxin can lead to late-term miscarriages, cancers, thyroid disease, and brain damage. Breathing in methyl iodide can induce slurred speech, vomiting, and kidney problems, while touching it with one's bare skin can cause burns. All of the scientific evidence against methyl iodide, however, didn't stop the EPA from approving the substance for use back in 2007 (one of the agency's last acts under the Bush Administration). Then this past December, California also approved methyl iodide for use in the state's strawberry and other crop fields. Scientists nearly blew a fuse, with two of CDPR's toxicologists resigning after the decision. Meanwhile, Arysta LifeScience, the maker of methyl iodide, celebrated the huge coup.
So let's give methyl iodide the boot from our crop fields. You can submit a comment to the EPA here. You can also help push California to reverse the approval of methyl iodide by signing our petition to Governor Jerry Brown.
Humanists for Social Justice and Environmental Action supports Human Rights, Social and Economic Justice, Environmental Activism and Planetary Ethics in North America & Globally, with particular reference to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other Human Rights UN treaties and conventions listed above.