Forum– Methyl Iodide and Our Community–Learn the Facts.
What: Central Coast Community Forum on Methyl Iodide. Come learn about the State’s most hotly debated strawberry pesticide- Methyl Iodide, and the potential health risks for the Central Coast. Open to the public. Free of charge.
When: Thursday, September 29th, 6:30-8:00pm
Where: Hartnell College Steinbeck Hall (near cafeteria—main campus) corner of Central Avenue and Homestead Avenue in Salinas
Keynote speaker: Assemblymember Bill Monning, Chair of California State Assembly Committee on Health
Assemblymember Luis Alejo
Jim Cochran, Farmer and President of Swanton Berry Farms
Robert Gould, MD, President, SF-Bay Area Chapter, Physicians for Social Responsibility
Professor Kathy Collins, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at University of CA at Berkeley
Co-sponsors: Office of Assemblymember Luis Alejo, Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, United Farm Workers Safe Strawberries Monterey County Working Group, Pesticide Watch Education Fund.
English/Spanish translation available.
This forum is part of a campaign organized by local community leaders to educate the public regarding the impacts of methyl iodide on the community, public health and environment. The event is an educational forum which is meant to address the concerns of residents, members of the Board of Supervisors, farmers and growers, farmworkers, and physicians, etc. about methyl iodide.
Local grassroots efforts are underway in Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties to “Say NO to Methyl Iodide.” The local effort, along with Pesticide Watch and Pesticide Action Network’s national campaign, is especially important, since strawberries in California are a $2.1 billion industry and growers in the Watsonville and Salinas areas produced 41 percent of California’s crop in 2010. In addition, many other local crops could be targeted for methyl iodide use. A primary goal of the campaign is to get both County Boards of Supervisors to sign a resolution against the use of this toxic, cancer causing chemical.
In December, 2010 the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) approved the registration of methyl iodide, allowing pesticide applicators to seek permits to fumigate with the highly toxic substance. Methyl iodide is the proposed replacement chemical for the banned ozone-depleting chemical methyl bromide. Methyl iodide is a known carcinogen, neurotoxin, and thyroid toxin, which can also disrupt fetal development, cause miscarriages and contaminate groundwater. It was nevertheless approved under lobbying pressure from chemical manufacturer Arysta LifeScience.
Scientist John Froines, professor of environmental health at UCLA and Yale Ph.D chemist led the DPR scientific review of methyl iodide and he said that “Science was subverted” in the approval process and “there is no safe level of release” when it comes to the fumigant.
The recent discovery of corporate interference in the scientific process strengthens the concerns voiced by leading scientists, including six Nobel Laureates. The court ordered release of DPR documents showed that the approval process was tainted because state officials cherry picked calculations and misused data to obtain an “acceptable level” of exposure to methyl iodide. Their concern for Arysta’s economic viability outweighed the concern for increased cancer risk in exposed rural communities.
Opposition is growing: the City of Watsonville, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (Region IX), UFW, California Rural Legal Assistance, California Federation of Teachers, Planned Parenthood Mar Monte and many others have passed resolutions against Methyl Iodide. The Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board opposes methyl iodide due to potential drinking water contamination. Thirty eight California legislators wrote to Governor Brown urging him to take immediate action to prohibit methyl iodide.
Contact Gary Karnes locally for more information: 831-402-9106, or
Dana Perls with Pesticide Watch Education Fund 925-705-1074