Methyl Iodine and Strawberries
You may already know that conventional strawberries fall into the Dirty Dozen list of conventional foods that you should avoid. This is because strawberries are sprayed with massive amounts of chemicals. Washing doesn’t help very much because the surface of strawberries with the seeds creates small crater like areas for the chemicals to reside in. The result, a very toxic fruit with over 54 different pesticide residues.
Methyl Iodine is said to be one of the most toxic chemicals to date
Recently, the newly approved chemical Methyl Iodine; which is used to fumigate the strawberry fields in California, is under heavy debate. Methyl Iodine is said to be one of the most toxic chemicals to date.
“Methyl iodide is a known carcinogen and neurotoxin that causes late-term miscarriages. Scientists using this chemical in the lab to induce cancer in cells take serious precautions — using a ventilation hood and protective gear when handling small amounts. In California, methyl iodide would be injected into the soil as a gas at rates of up to 100 lbs per acre. In addition to the threat posed to farmworkers and communities living next to strawberry fields, methyl iodide would likely contaminate groundwater.“ (Panna.org)
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger approved this new chemical last year after phasing out the chemical methyl bromide because of its detrimental environmental impact. Even though more than 50 scientists and doctors, including five Nobel laureates in chemistry, wrote an “urgent” letter (PDF) to the EPA warning the agency about the dangers of methyl iodide, in October 2007, the EPA approved its use.
It is so reliably carcinogenic that it’s used to create cancer cells in laboratories…
This new chemical may be better for the ozone layer, but is said to be even worse for humans who work in the fields, those who are in close proximity to the strawberry fields, as well as those who eat the strawberries. It is so reliably carcinogenic that it’s used to create cancer cells in laboratories.
“Farmworkers, who rarely use respirators, are especially at risk when in contact with methyl iodide, which is listed under California’s Proposition 65 as a carcinogen. Laboratory tests on animals have linked methyl iodide to miscarriages, cognitive impairment and thyroid toxicity.” (LA TIMES)
Several environmental and health advocate organizations are bringing awareness to this harmful chemical and urging the policy to be changed. These groups have received support from 35 California legislators who are petitioning Governor Brown to reconsider the State’s position on the fumigant.
I encourage you all to only buy strawberries that are organic, and even better only when they are in season. In a couple months, there will be the most deliciously ripe strawberries still warm from the sun at your local Farmers Market. In the meantime, contact Gov. Brown and urge him to ban the use of methyl iodine.
Author: Mary Crimmins