Daily News Archive
Launched to Remove Methyl Bromide-Treated Food from Supermarkets
(Beyond Pesticides, November 24, 2004) The Environmental
Investigation Agency (EIA) is launching a campaign to convince United
States supermarkets to stop selling food grown or treated with the deadly
chemical methyl bromide, including tomatoes, strawberries and nuts.
EIA, an independent, international non-profit organization, is investigating
the supply chains for major supermarkets and will be campaigning to
have products produced with methyl bromide removed from shelves across
Methyl bromide is harmful to the global environment as well as to human
health. It is a potent contributor to the destruction of the ozone layer.
Damage to the ozone layer results in increased rates of skin cancer
and cataracts around the world, particularly among children.
Direct exposure to this toxic chemical can result in headaches, nausea,
chest and abdominal pain, respiratory failure, and even death. Many
strawberry and tomato fields treated with methyl bromide are located
so near as to endanger homes, schools, and churches. The pesticide has
also been identified as a significant source of occupational illness,
injuring the farm workers who grow these crops. In addition to the acute
effects of exposure, a recent United States study of over 55,000 male
pesticide applicators found that methyl bromide users had a statistically
greater risk of developing prostate cancer, and those who had longer
exposure to the chemical were at higher risk.
This week the global community has gathered in Prague, Czech Republic,
to determine how best to end the use of methyl bromide. Pursuant to
the Montreal Protocol, the international treaty designed to save the
ozone layer, the world’s developed countries are supposed to complete
phase out of methyl bromide use by 2005; however, some countries have
dragged their feet on this phase out. The United States, the largest
user of methyl bromide in the world, is actually seeking to increase
its use of methyl bromide in the years to come.
EIA President Allan Thornton stated, “There are viable alternatives
to the use of methyl bromide. Supermarket chains such as Safeway, Whole
Foods, Albertson’s, Kroger and Wal-Mart need to ensure that their
shelves are free of produce grown or treated with this deadly chemical.
We will be writing to major supermarkets to ask them to stop supporting
the continued use of methyl bromide.”
For more information regarding EIA’s campaign, contact R.
Juge Gregg, Senior Campaigner at (202) 483-6621 or [email protected].
TAKE ACTION: Ensure your food is not treated
with methyl bromide by buying organic.
Write President Bush
in the White House and insist that the U.S. comply with the Montreal
Protocol and begin implementing alternatives.