Friday, May 7, 2010

Another Reason to Buy Organic Strawberries?

(besides that they typically taste better)

The State of California has proposed approving the strawberry fumigant methyl iodide. The state would require further, stringent regulations on the use of the soil fumigant, going beyond the federal rules that allow for its use in other states. But the stricter measures have done little to quell the fears of opponents.

Methyl iodide is a replacement for methyl bromide, a pesticide that is known to contribute to depletion of the ozone layer and is being phased out under the Montreal Protocol on ozone-depleting substances. Methyl iodide is an effective pesticide and ozone-friendly, but it is a known mutagen, and it could cause cancer, nerve damage or fetal-development problems among workers and people living near fumigated fields.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved the fumigant in October 2007, finding it safe for use. But a report by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) concluded in 2009 that the compound posed "significant health risks". The DPR commissioned an independent review, which stated amongst its findings that "adequate control of human exposure would be difficult, if not impossible". Nevertheless, the DPR decided on 30 April that further restrictions would make methyl iodide safe enough for use.

Read more here, in Nature News.

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