"Banned Pesticide Use Remains High in CA Strawberry Fields"

"SAN FRANCISCO -- In some of California’s top strawberry-growing counties, levels of banned methyl bromide remain nearly as high as they were a decade ago, despite a mandated phaseout, according to an analysis by New America Media."

"The fumigant was supposed to have been phased out completely by 2005, under a global pact to halt the thinning of the earth’s protective ozone layer. But in 2009, the latest year for which data is available, more than 5 million pounds of the pesticide were still in use, down just 50 percent from 2000.

A limited amount of methyl bromide is allowed for use in instances where no alternative exists, through a “critical use exemption,” determined by treaty members in a three-year process and administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Strawberry growers in California are among the groups that can apply for an exemption.

As a result, in a handful of the state’s highest strawberry production areas, methyl bromide is nearly as ubiquitous as it was in 1999, indicating that not all communities in the state are benefiting similarly from the phaseout."

Ngoc Nguyen reports for New America Media September 6, 2011.

Source: New America Media, 09/07/2011