UFW of America Calls for End to Methyl Iodide on Strawberries

B. McPherson

The United Farm Workers is calling on California Governor Brown to review the use of methyl iodide now that a new head of the Department of Pesticide Regulations is in place.
Methyl iodide replaces the use of methyl bromide to kill unwanted plants and their seeds, insects and nematode worms. It has also been implicated in causing miscarriages and cancers. It has been dubbed one of the most toxic chemicals on earth by Pesticide Action Network. It is also a known neurotoxin and endocrine disruptor.

The agricultural workers as well as those living in close proximity to non-organically raised strawberry fields are exposed to traces of this toxin which is injected into the soil and may infiltrate groundwater.

Methyl iodide is a known carcinogen that could cause spontaneous miscarriages and contaminate groundwater. Injecting it as a gas into the soil presents unacceptable risks to farm workers, nearby rural communities, pregnant women and children. Clearly, this toxic chemical is dangerous and should be banned. United FarmWorkers of America

California supplies about 85% of the strawberries grown in the US. Lush, large berries are starting to show up in Canadian supermarkets. There is little problem with mold growing on the berries, no bug damage, no bacteria spoilage. Consumers should ask themselves why that is.

Take a look at the following list of pesticides that the USDA  routinely found on fresh strawberries in 2008. These are the conventionally grown, non-organic berries.The list is in decreasing order of incidence from 55% occurring to 0.1%. Little work is done on the synergistic effect of multiples of these residues in humans.

The USDA found a total of 54 different pesticide residues on fresh strawberries. Of those 9 were known or suspected to cause cancer, 24 known or suspected to be hormone disruptors, 11 are known neurotoxins, 12 found to be problematic in developmental and reproductive matters and 19 were found to be toxic to bees.

 If you are planning something special for your honey on Valentine’s Day you might decide to forego the strawberries dipped in chocolate unless they were grown organically. Of course, chocolate itself is a whole other story …

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