"California Mulls Controversial Alternative to Methyl Bromide"

"WATSONVILLE -- A controversial alternative to the ozone-depleting pesticide methyl bromide could be in use in Pajaro Valley strawberry fields next year.

Methyl iodide, marketed by Tokyo-based Arysta LifeScience Corp. under the name MIDAS, was approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over the objections of dozens of scientists, including several Nobel Laureates, and is now being studied by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation.

A decision on whether to register methyl iodide in California, a precondition for use in the state, is expected by the end of the year.

A nod could be good news for growers of strawberries and other crops who depend on methyl bromide for pest- and disease-free soil. But to methyl iodide foes, who in addition to scientists include environmentalists, organic farmers and the United Farm Workers union, the chemical is simply too toxic."

Donna Jones reports for the Santa Cruz Sentinel July 16, 2009.

Friday, July 17, 2009