October 22, 2007

Help stop toxic methyl iodide from being used in California.
E-mail CA officials today!
Last week we told you how the EPA approved the use of methyl iodide--a dangerous toxic, mutagenic pesticide. Thousands of you responded and took action – thank you! EPA is still refusing to listen to us and the dozens of prominent scientists who have repeatedly pointed out the dangers associated with this pesticide.

California is one of the largest users of fumigant pesticides. The state must give a separate approval to methyl iodide before this toxic chemical can be used. We asking for your immediate help to encourage California authorities to do the right thing and refuse approval of this deadly compound.

By sending an e-mail today, you can help protect the tens of thousands of farmworkers who work and live in California along with consumers who eat the California-grown produce.

There is still time to pressure the CA Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR). The California's state review of methyl iodide isn't scheduled to be completed until late 2008. Up until this point, DPR has been cautious about use of this pesticide. A February 2006 letter that the California's Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) submitted to the EPA expressed serious reservations about the chemical's high toxicity and the potential harm it posed to "workers and bystanders, as well as residents living near treated fields." However, it's very important that you give DPR immediate feedback, in order to let officials know you are watching their actions in light of the EPA's disastrous decision.
As an October 11, Sacramento Bee editorial, entitled “New danger in the fields - State should keep methyl iodide out” points out, “While [methyl iodide] does not damage the ozone, methyl iodide is more acutely toxic than methyl bromide. It is so dangerous that chemists who handle tiny amounts of it in laboratory settings must first don protective hoods and double gloves and use specially sealed bottles and syringes to ensure none of the chemical escapes...The EPA ignored objections raised by 52 eminent scientists, including five Nobel Laureates for chemistry, who signed a letter last month advising the EPA not to register methyl iodide. ‘As scientists and physicians familiar with this chemical,' they wrote, 'we are concerned that pregnant women and the fetus, children, the elderly, farmworkers and other people living near application sites would be at serious risk if methyl iodide is permitted in agriculture.’” (For background information, click here to see last weeks' UFW alert to the EPA)

Please E-mail Mary-Ann Warmerdam, Director of the Department of Pesticide Regulation TODAY and tell the DPR to protect the public and the environment by not allowing this pesticide to be used.


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Los Angeles Times: EPA approves new pesticide despite scientists' concerns

10/6/07:... "If they're right, they shouldn't be afraid of an independent review," Bergman said. "I don't know what the motivation is to get this stuff approved so fast. If there is any possibility that it would be dangerous, do you not approve it, or do you approve it and then decide, after something happens, to change your mind? There is serious potential for accidents."

The manufacturer, Arysta, has spent eight years and more than $11 million collecting toxicological and environmental data to persuade the EPA to register methyl iodide as a pesticide.

Arysta's former chief executive, Elin Miller, is now a top official at the EPA and was appointed administrator of its northwest region last year. FULL ARTICLE

Sacramento Bee, Editorial: New danger in the fields - State should keep methyl iodide out

10/11/07...The EPA ignored objections raised by 52 eminent scientists, including five Nobel Laureates for chemistry, who signed a letter last month advising the EPA not to register methyl iodide.

...The California Department of Pesticide Regulation must approve methyl iodide before it can be used here...To protect the public and the environment, California regulators should continue to hold the line. FULL ARTICLE

Associated Press: EPA approves 1-year use of farm pesticide despite scientists' concerns

10/7/07:...California's Department of Pesticide Regulation lists the chemical as a carcinogen and also had expressed objections. Officials have said that whatever EPA's action, use of the new product in California would not be possible before the state concludes its own review in a year or so. FULL ARTICLE

Monterey County Herald: Methyl iodide may not play

10/10/07:...It would be one thing if the EPA could tell us that methyl iodide is a safe substitute. But even though methyl iodide doesn't contribute to global warming like its chemical cousin, the words "safe" and "methyl iodide" seldom find themselves in the same sentence. The compound in its various forms ranges from mildly to acutely toxic, several times as toxic as methyl bromide, which has prompted considerable protest and litigation here. FULL ARTICLE

Ventura County Star: Pesticide's use in county now up to state officials

10/7/2007: ...With the Environmental Protection Agency giving its blessing for a controversial new pesticide Friday, eyes are turning to the California Department of Pesticide Regulation to see if it will allow methyl iodide to be used on California farms, even though 54 of the nation's top scientists warn of dire consequences. FULL ARTICLE

9/24/07 letter to EPA director Stephen Johnson by 54 prominent scientists warning that the cancer causing chemical is too dangerous to be used as a pesticide and urging EPA to delay registration and conduct an independent review of the agency’s assessment of the pesticide. CLICK TO SEE LETTER

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