Wednesday, March 31, 2010
A coalition of environmental, labor and farmworker advocacy groups today petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to rescind approval of strawberry fumigant methyl iodide, which state regulators are considering registering to replace methyl bromide.
The petition coincides with labor leader Cesar Chavez's birthday, and the organizations argue the chemical poses substantial risk to farmworkers and communities living next to agricultural fields.
“A chemical used to create cancer cells in laboratories has no place being broadcast into the environment near where people live, work and play,” said Ed Zuroweste, chief medical officer of Migrant Clinicians Network. “Our communities are not lab rats.”
The petition cites a February report by a scientific committee, which says methyl iodide's agricultural use "would result in exposures to a large number of the public and thus would have a significant adverse impact on the public health” adding that, “adequate control of human exposure would be difficult, if not impossible.”