"Calif Approves Use of Pesticide Linked To Cancer"

"California regulators approved a pesticide Wednesday for use by fruit and vegetable growers despite heavy opposition from environmental and farmworker groups that cited its links to cancer.

The state Department of Pesticide Regulation will register methyl iodide as a substitute for the pesticide methyl bromide, which is being phased out by international treaty because it depletes the Earth's protective ozone layer.

California's $1.6 billion strawberry industry will undoubtedly provide one of the biggest markets for the chemical, as will the Central Valley's nut orchards and the fresh flower nurseries dotting the coast in Ventura and San Diego counties.

The pesticide is included on California's official list of cancer-causing chemicals, and the department's own scientific advisory panel has raised concerns that it could poison the air and water.

The agency tentatively approved its restricted use in April and Wednesday's decision made it final."

Garance Burke reports for the Associated Press December 1, 2010.

Thursday, December 2, 2010