Long time readers of this blog will probably be sickeningly aware of my campaign to get methyl bromide added to the Appendix A list of chemicals that prompt a Top Screen submission. DHS left off this toxic inhalation hazard (TIH) chemical because the EPA was ‘phasing out’ the use of this chemical as a fumigant in support of the ozone protection treaty.
The phase out is way behind schedule, mainly because of the lack of an approved substitute in a number of applications, including soil fumigation for strawberry crops. Well, according to an article at BusinessWeek.com a step forward in the phase out process happened last week when the State of California approved the use of methyl iodide as a fumigant for strawberry fields.
What is amazing to me is the amount of opposition there is in the environmental and worker safety community to the approval of this chemical. I fully understand that methyl iodide is toxic, but by definition fumigants are toxic. If methyl iodide is not approved, then the growers will continue to use methyl bromide, a much more toxic chemical and one that is known to deplete the ozone layer.
It should be a matter of timing people. Make a pro-forma objection to methyl iodide so no one suspects that you find the chemical acceptable. Then let it be approved so that the methyl bromide phase out can proceed. Then start your program to shut down the use of methyl iodide; I don’t like strawberries that much and don’t know any owners or workers, so if you shut them down it won’t hurt me (excuse the sarcasm please).