No more methyl iodide distribution in U.S.

March 22, 2012

A years-long battle by environmentalists to halt the use of methyl iodine as a fumigant for strawberries and other crops ended abruptly when the company producing it said it would no longer deliver it to the United States. [LATimes]

Methyl iodide was thought to have little effect on air quality. However, some scientists say it can cause cancer, brain damage and miscarriages to farm workers and can be a threat to ground water.

“This way is more powerful than a court victory. It’s a concession. It’s them walking,” said Greg Loarie, lead attorney in a lawsuit attacking the process California used to approve the chemical in 2010 to the Times.

“Today I’m really happy,” said 19-year-old Gabriela Rincon, who joined marches against the chemical and told her parents, both pickers in the Salinas area, about the risk. “It feels like someone finally listened to us about something really important.”



  1. Ted Slanders says:


    Yeah, those damn regulations! It’s far better to let the farm workers contact this methyl iodine thingy, and not have UNION representations, EPA water standards, etc. Let them break their backs all day long for minimum wages too. Yep, that’s the true Amercan style, greed over the health and welfare of our fellow earthly passengers.

    It seems as thouigh you would like to pay a slightly lessor amount for your strawberries at the expence of the farm workers health and well-being. Fine. I doubt that you would be out in the fields without any regulations along with poor health conditions for the sake of cheaper strawberries than what Mexico provides! What a joke.

    (-1) 13 Total Votes - 6 up - 7 down
    • Ted Slanders says:

      ^ Whoops, the above is directed at racket! ^

      (-3) 5 Total Votes - 1 up - 4 down
  2. tojofay says:

    Buy local and ensure a clean environment and safe working conditions. Good work, Ms. Rincon and friends!

    (-1) 9 Total Votes - 4 up - 5 down
    • racket says:

      “Buy local” is a great soundbyte.

      You understand that more than 20% of California’s 1.8 billion (with a “b”) pounds of strawberries are grown in Santa Maria.

      How many do each of us gotta buy?

      (0) 10 Total Votes - 5 up - 5 down
  3. racket says:

    This is another competitive advantage for the Mexican farmers, who can still use methyl bromide and methyl iodine to protect their strawberry crops.

    Now, in addition to cheap labor, no Water Quality Control board, no EPA, no unionization efforts, no conservatives chasing their workers out of the country, they have THIS.

    It’s great that Americans get to live in a healthy clean environment, but our regulations are not allowing us to compete in the new global market.

    (-3) 23 Total Votes - 10 up - 13 down
    • R.Hodin says:

      perhaps it’s a little more complex than what you assert . . .

      (3) 5 Total Votes - 4 up - 1 down
    • Cicero says:

      California and the US have ample power to place a tarrif on importation of strawberries that are laced or contain methyl iodine trace without violating NAFTA. The alternative of methyl iodine is actually more physical attention to the field, which means more jobs for healthier American workers. And if Mexico follows suit in order to be able to export their berries, more work for healthier Mexican workers there.

      (2) 6 Total Votes - 4 up - 2 down

Comments are closed.