December 02, 2010 It’s a good news/bad news scenario: California regulators have replaced methyl bromide with methyl iodide to be used as a fumigant in agriculture. The good news is that it takes methyl bromide off the list of choices due to its known ability to deplete the stratospheric ozone layer. The bad news is the replacement is known to cause cancer. In fact, it is listed on the state’s Proposition 65’s “Chemicals known to the State to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity”[PDF] last updated June 11, 2010.
“The pesticide is included on California’s official list of cancer-causing chemicals, and the department’s own scientific advisory panel has raised concerns that it could poison the air and water.
The agency tentatively approved its restricted use in April and Wednesday’s decision made it final.
Regulators insist the fumigant can be used safely and say permits will be required and strict guidelines will be followed.
“The process has been more complex because of methyl iodide’s toxicity as well as because of the intense public interest,” director Mary-Ann Warmerdam said. “Methyl iodide can be used safely under our tough restrictions by only highly trained applicators at times, places and specific conditions approved by the county agricultural commissioners.”
“he was disturbed by the approval after several hearings on Sacramento about the pesticide’s health impacts.
“I think there is sufficient scientific evidence to say that this chemical is unsafe at any speed,” he said. “With a limited state budget, it is going to be very different to rely on agricultural commissioners to provide enough oversight and monitoring if this goes into use extensively.”
Go to original post.