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Pesticide Action Network

Food & farm groups to EPA: Fumigants are too hazardous

Kicking off Thanksgiving week yesterday, PAN submitted comments on behalf of over thirty food, farming and farmworker organizations and over 5,000 concerned citizens, calling on EPA to protect communities from harmful fumigant drift of neighboring fields and orchards.

Last year, due to outcry from the scientific community, cancer-causing methyl iodide was taken off the market. Yet other fumigants are still widely used across the country, everywhere from California strawberry fields to citrus in Florida and Midwest potato fields.

Of particular concern is the fumigant chloropicrin, which California scientists say is a “potent carcinogen.”

Paul Towers, spokesperson for PAN, released the following statement:

“It’s time for EPA to develop a clear plan to transition farmers off harmful pesticide fumigants by 2020. And while solutions become shovel-ready, the agency must implement protections for those currently being exposed to fumigants, particularly children living near agricultural fields. These chemicals are incredibly hard to control and are prone to drift from where they’re applied.

Scientists and communities have already demonstrated the harms of fumigants both in the lab and in the field. California state scientists found the fumigant chloropicrin — a serious respiratory irritant — to also be a ‘potent carcinogen.’ And PAN has documented chloropicrin drift around homes, gardens and schools in California communities.

EPA should move quickly to implement protection or buffer zones and ensure safety levels are adopted that put the health of children first. ”


For Immediate Release: November 26, 2013
Contact: Paul Towers, 916-216-1082,


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Pesticide Action Network

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