Arysta | Pesticide Action Network
Reclaiming the future of food and farming

Arysta

Kathryn Gilje's picture

Up next? Fumigant-free strawberry fields.

In March, we stopped the pesticide industry from pushing a cancer-causing chemical into California strawberry fields. Together, we won an incredible victory when Arysta LifeScience — maker of methyl iodide — pulled its hazardous product off the U.S. market.

Now, we turn to "what's next," the important work of ensuring that strawberries truly get off the pesticide treadmill.

Kathryn Gilje
Pesticide Action Network's picture

What's next on methyl iodide? Update from the courtroom

Timing is everything. On March 20, Arysta LifeScience pulled its cancer-causing pesticide, methyl iodide, from the U.S. market. The decision came after years of public outcry against the undue influence that Arysta, the largest privately held pesticide corporation in the world, had on science and governance during the rulemaking.

Interestingly enough, Arysta's decision was announced on the eve of a critical hearing in the methyl iodide lawsuit that Earthjustice and California Rural Legal Assistance filed on behalf of Pesticide Action Network, farmworkers, Californians for Pesticide Reform and many others.

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The struggle against methyl iodide: A year in review

Opposition to cancer-causing methyl iodide is at a fever pitch in California, a year after the Schwarzenegger Administration approved the chemical for use in the state.

As Gov. Jerry Brown considers action on methyl iodide in 2012, as well as the appointment of a new chief pesticide regulator, it’s worth reflecting on PAN's efforts to ensure safe strawberries over the past year.

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Cookies with chemical lobbyists

Ever had lunch with a high-powered lobbyist for the chemical industry? As the Monterey County Weekly reported last week, a small-town high school teacher and a university graduate student were invited to share cookies at the offices of a well-known Sacramento lobbying firm concerned about the growing public opposition to the cancer-causing strawberry pesticide methyl iodide.

Goal of lunch: Diffuse and disorient the local movement against methyl iodide.

Target: visible community leaders.

Didn't work. The problem with the lobbyist's approach is that it's hard to dissect a movement, especially when so many people have the facts. As PAN's Kathryn Gilje previously reported, the movement is made up of high school students, chemists, farmers, farmworkers, moms and many others working in different ways to protect health and the environment. Just last May, over 200,000 people across the country called on EPA to ban methyl iodide.

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"Mix & Match" — The mysterious math behind CA's methyl iodide decision comes to light

"Puzzled by some of the numbers...not scientifically credible...apparent 'mix and match' approach." These are some of the phrases found in a pair of memos authored by California officials looking into the state's controversial decision to approve methyl iodide.

The documents were unearthed by attorneys at Earthjustice earlier this week, working on behalf of PAN and the United Farm Workers, among others. They substantiate what independent scientists had been saying all along: state officials caved to pressure from pesticide manufacturer Arysta LifeScience and approved the use of cancer-causing methyl iodide in California.

Pesticide Actio...