methyl iodide | Pesticide Action Network
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methyl iodide

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Time for fumigants to go

Last year, thanks to incredible public outcry, cancer-causing methyl iodide was taken off the market. But other fumigant pesticides are still in wide use on strawberry fields and beyond, and they are among the most toxic and difficult-to-control agricultural chemicals.

Recognizing their hazardous nature, EPA is currently reviewing the federal rules for drift-prone fumigants — years earlier than the normal review cycle.

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Towards fumigant-free fields

After cancer-causing methyl iodide was pulled from the U.S. market last year, California state officials convened a panel to investigate ending reliance on all fumigant pesticides (like methyl iodide) in strawberry fields.

Yesterday, the Department of Pesticide Regulation released the panel's report detailing current research to help strawberry growers transition away from using fumigant pesticides. And while farmers, scientists and health advocates welcome the report, many are calling for bolder, swifter action.

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Saying 'no' to methyl iodide, worldwide

When the strawberry fumigant methyl iodide was taken off the U.S. market last March, pesticidemaker Arysta continued to promote the use of the cancer-causing chemical in other countries.

In coordination with partners around the world, PAN is now working hard to ensure methyl iodide is also removed from the global market. Last month, PAN International sent a letter to EPA calling on the agency to restrict the export of methyl iodide to other countries.

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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
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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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Kathryn Gilje's picture

HUGE Win! Arysta pulls methyl iodide nationwide

After years of promoting their controversial pesticide in the face of scientific and public opposition, Arysta LifeScience has pulled cancer-causing methyl iodide off the U.S. market.

The Tuesday evening announcement ends use in this country of what scientists have called "one of the most toxic chemicals on earth."

Kathryn Gilje
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Sweet strawberry victory on Valentine’s Day

On Valentine’s Day, Monterey County Supervisors voted overwhelmingly to urge California to take action on methyl iodide. Over one hundred farmworkers filled the hearing room in the heart of strawberry country, along with farmers, rural residents and physicians.

Tuesday’s vote was historic not only because of the resolution passed, but because of the triumph in the face of powerful corporate pressure. 

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New leadership on pesticides in California

Last week, Governor Jerry Brown signaled a new direction for California agriculture with the appointment of Brian Leahy as the state’s chief pesticide regulator.

Leahy, a former conventional-turned-organic rice farmer, takes the helm of the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) at a key moment: the agency is embroiled in controversy over its decision to approve the cancer-causing pesticide methyl iodide despite strong scientific opposition to the chemical.

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