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Assemblyman encourages methyl iodide ban

Assemblyman Bill Monning, D-Carmel, urged his constituents to fight state approval of methyl iodide, a fumigant that is considered a viable alternative to methyl bromide, an ozone depleter now being phased out, according to an article in the Oakland Tribune.

Monning, chair of the Assembly Health Committee and currently running for reelection, participated in a forum about pesticides yesterday at Pajaro Middle School, in Pajaro (Monterey County).

"They use methyl iodide to cause cancer in lab animals," Monning was quoted by reporter Tovin Lapan. "It's not a question of whether, it's a question of when. There will be human damage, there will be environmental damage and there will be water damage."

The article also contained information from UC Cooperative Extension sources. Farm advisor Mark Bolda said 75 percent of the strawberry fields in the region are fumigated in some way. In Monterey and Santa Cruz counties, methyl bromide is the No. 1 pesticide used in all agricultural production.

On average, Bolda said, organic strawberry fields yield about 50 percent less than fumigated fields.

"There are some organic plots with great yields, and some with very low yields," Bolda was quoted. "You always run the risk of being completely wiped out by disease with organic growing."

UC Davis strawberry researcher Doug Shaw said that, in his studies on small plots, the crops fumigated with methyl iodide yielded 8 to 10 percent less than the methyl bromide-fumigated crop.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved methyl iodide for agricultural use and most states follow the U.S. EPA's lead. California, Washington, New York and Florida, however, have separate approval processes for pesticides. New York and Washington already have banned methyl iodide; Florida permits its use on high-value crops.

Bolda believes the California Department of Pesticide Regulation's eventual decision on the pesticide may influence other states' use of methyl iodide.

As goes California, the No. 1 consumer of pesticides in the United States, so goes the United States, Bolda said.

Conventional strawberry production involves the use of a soil fumigant before the crop is planted.
Conventional strawberry production involves the use of a soil fumigant before the crop is planted.

Posted on Wednesday, October 13, 2010 at 10:03 AM
Tags: Doug Shaw (1), Mark Bolda (5), methyl iodide (14), strawberries (27)

Comments:

1.
There is no basis for the comment by The Assemblyman other than the PAN website.

Posted by Jim Sims on October 14, 2010 at 3:04 PM

2.
Jim, considering that you authored the patents for methyl iodide's agricultural use, I'd hardly say your view is unbiased. I'd actually consider it akin to the view of someone who denies climate change.

Posted by Dirty Hippie on December 2, 2010 at 8:32 AM

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