Thursday, October 18, 2007

UFW Petition: Stop Toxic Chemical From Being Used in CA

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.