Last spring the UFW and their partners at PANNA and other environmental groups won a tremendous victory in keeping the cancer-causing fumigant methyl iodide out of California’s strawberry fields. That dangerous chemical has now been pulled from the entire U.S. market and we are all a little safer.
However, this might not continue. Instead of investing fully in moving towards safe strawberry fields, some decision makers have caved to industry pressure by petitioning to create more loopholes to allow the use of methyl iodide’s banned predecessor, methyl bromide.
Methyl bromide has been banned globally for good reason. It is an ozone-depleting chemical and developmental toxicant. Farmers all over the world have figured out how to farm without either methyl bromide or methyl iodide. Surely, with a little persistence and support, California farmers can too.
These exemptions are unnecessary and undermine the progress our state has just begun to make in transitioning off of fumigant pesticides.
Hold officials accountable to the promise of safe strawberry fields in California. Join us in urging California EPA head Matt Rodriguez to affirm his commitment to end fumigant pesticide use by 2020 in California, and to create a plan that supports farmers' efforts to do so. Please sign our petition today.