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Strawberry Lovers Rejoice: Methyl Iodide Off the Market for Now

We hear a lot about recalls these days. But last night it wasn’t ground turkey, cantaloupes, or peanut butter that was taken off the market. It was one of the most hotly contested pesticides in recent memory: methyl iodide. As reported by the San Jose Mercury News, Arysta Lifescience, the makers of the fumigant, announced on Tuesday evening that they’d be suspending sales of the product (also known as Midas) in all U.S. markets. Read more

Head of CA Department of Pesticide Regulation Leaves Post to Work for Chemical Giant

California’s top pesticide regulator is leaving her job to work for Clorox. Mary-Ann Warmerdam, the director of the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR), announced her resignation on Tuesday. Warmerdam’s departure was voluntary, but environmental and public health advocates have been pushing for her removal for months. They say she let the chemical industry’s influence trump science and the public’s health when her agency approved the use of methyl iodide—which causes cancer, nerve damage and miscarriage—for use in strawberry cultivation. (See more Civil Eats coverage of the issue here, here and here.) Read more

Strawberry Show Down: No Methyl Iodide with My Shortcake, Please

Commercially grown strawberries and tomatoes in California could start getting an unhealthy dose of the highly toxic fumigant methyl iodide, a known carcinogen, neurotoxin, and thyroid disruptor. Among scientists’ greatest concerns is the pesticide’s ability to cause spontaneous abortion late in pregnancy. So you might be surprised to hear that the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) recently issued a proposed decision to approve methyl iodide for use just months after a state-commissioned study warned that any agricultural use “would result in exposures to a large number of the public and thus would have a significant adverse impact on the public health” adding that, “adequate control of human exposure would be difficult, if not impossible.” Read more