Friday, April 30, 2010
California Department of Pesticide Regulation Director Mary-Ann Warmerdam proposed today to register strawberry fumigant methly iodide, a move that will be met with staunch opposition by environmental and farmworker advocacy groups.
"By law, we cannot register a pesticide unless it can be used safely," Warmerdam said in a prepared statement. "After extensive reviews, we have determined methyl iodide can be used safely – with the extra, health–protective use restrictions we are proposing that are much stricter than those imposed anywhere else in the U.S."
The restrictions include a half-mile buffer zone around schools.
Assemblymember Bill Monning said DPR's decision was disappointing. "There are ongoing safety concerns about rural farm workers and residents who work and live in proximity to agricultural fields," Monning said in a prepared statement. "The external review panel indicated there are high risks to human health and the environment to use of this pesticide. It appears that commercial enterprise has outweighed public health interests in this case. I hope that DPR will reconsider its decision.”
Methyl iodide is designed to replace ozone-depleting methyl bromide, which is widely used on Monterey County strawberry crops.
Comments on the decision will accepted until June 14. For more details visit DPR's website.