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Archive for the 'methyl iodide' Category


California Passes Bill to Tackle Pesticide Drift

(Beyond Pesticides, October 9, 2013) California Governor Jerry Brown has signed Assembly Bill 304, a bill designed to protect people from harmful pesticides identified as Toxic Air Contaminants (TACs). The bill will require the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) to develop mitigation measures for the use of harmful pesticides that vaporize and drift from application sites. California, a major user of pesticidefumigants, has tried to tackle to prevalence of pesticide drift in the state, and is one of few states that monitor air-borne pesticides. AB 304: “Pesticides: toxic air contaminant: control measures” introduced by Assembly member Das G. Williams (D-Santa Barbara), gives the DPR two years to reduce the effects of harmful air toxins once the department determines that additional mitigation measures are necessary. Fumigants are some of the most dangerous pesticides on the market and include the controversial methyl iodide. They are applied in large quantities, vaporize easily, drift away and expose nearby farmworkers and other community members to harm, with health effects linked to headaches, vomiting, severe lung irritation, and neurological effects. Some fumigants are linked to cancer, reduced fertility, birth defects and higher rates of miscarriage. “Californians have a right to breathe clean air, and not worry […]



Report Finds Need for California to Improve Its Pesticide Approval Process

(Beyond Pesticides, September 30, 2013) A new report, published by UCLA’s Sustainable Technology and Policy Program, finds that the California Department of Pesticides Registration (DPR) has failed to ensure that pesticides it approves are safe. Using methyl iodide as a case study, researchers point to key deficits in the approval process and make recommendations for improvements. Methyl iodide was used as a fumigant to control pests on strawberries, despite its threats to human health. It (i) causes miscarriages, thyroid dysfunction, and cancer, (ii) is neurotoxic, causing psychiatric symptoms and movement disorders similar to Parkinson’s disease,  and (iii)  is a developmental toxin that impairs fetal development. The fumigant was designed as a substitute for methyl bromide, which is slated for phase-out by 2015 as an ozone-depleting chemical under the Montreal Protocol. In the formulation, methyl iodide was combined with another fumigant, chloropicrin, to control for pests and approved for use by California DPR on December 2010, despite severe human health risks presented by scientists and substantial outcry by environmental and farmworker organizations. The report, entitled “Risk and Decision: Evaluating Pesticide Approval in California,” examines the effectiveness of DPR in registering pesticides. Most importantly, the report highlights the flawed risk assessment approach […]



California Plan Falls Short of Reducing Soil Fumigants

(Beyond Pesticides, April 11, 2013) A report released Tuesday by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) lays out an “Action Plan” to reduce farmer’s reliance on toxic soil fumigants. The plan was created by the Nonfumigant Strawberry Production Working Group, which was made up of scientists, growers, and other specialists. The working group was assembled in April 2012 because of the health and environmental concerns posed by the continued use of soil fumigants in strawberry production. The working group was asked to develop an action plan of research priorities for developing nonfumigant management strategies. However, even as the working group acknowledged the health and environmental risks posed by the continued use of fumigants, the plan remained conservative in its recommendations; it concluded that, “Even with full commitment to implement this action plan, the strawberry industry will need to continue its use of fumigants for years to remain viable in California,” even though growing strawberries organically without the use of fumigants has been shown to be effective. The working group was most concerned about the continued use of methyl bromide. Historically methyl bromide has been used as a fumigant to eliminate the threat of soil borne pests. Methyl bromide has […]



Methyl Iodide Uses To Formally End in the U.S.

(Beyond Pesticides, November 28, 2012) Earlier this year the maker of the fumigant methyl iodide indicated it would stop producing the toxic chemical. Now, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the registrant, Arysta LifeScience North America, LLC have entered into a Memorandum of Agreement to formally terminate all agricultural use of methyl iodide in the U.S. by the end of 2012 and ultimately remove all methyl iodide products from the U.S. market. EPA is opening a 30-day comment period for Arysta’s request for voluntary cancellation of all of the company’s methyl iodide product registrations, as stipulated in the agreement. Methyl iodide, or iodomethane, has been registered since 2007 for use as a pre-plant soil fumigant to control pests in soil where fruits, vegetables, ornamental plants, and turf are to be grown. In March 2012, Arysta, the sole registrant, announced its plans to immediately suspend all sales of its methyl iodide MIDAS ® products in the U.S. Under the recently signed agreement and the voluntary cancellation request, all of Arysta’s existing methyl iodide end-use product registrations will be cancelled and use of existing stocks in the U.S. will be prohibited effective December 31, 2012. Further distribution and sale of methyl […]



Methyl Iodide Maker Halts Sales in the U.S.

(Beyond Pesticides, March 23, 2012) In a victory for environmentalists and farmworkers, manufacturers of the controversial and highly toxic fumigant methyl iodide announced it will cease selling its products containing the chemical in the U.S. market earlier this week. Representatives from the Tokyo-based company, Arysta LifeScience say that the decision was made as a part of an internal review and based on its economic viability in the U.S.; however, the company will still continue to sell methyl iodide products in other countries. “Today I’m really happy. It feels like someone finally listened to us about something really important.” Gabriela Rincon, told the Los Angeles Times. Ms. Rincon is the daughter of farmworkers who pick strawberries in the Salinas area in California. Methyl iodide causes late term miscarriages, contaminates groundwater and is so reliably carcinogenic that it’s used to create cancer cells in laboratories. It is on California’s official list of known carcinogenic chemicals and has been linked to serious risks in reproductive and neurological health. The pesticide poses the most direct risks to farmworkers and those in the surrounding communities because of the volume that would need to be applied to fields and its tendency to drift off site through […]



California Farm County Says No to Methyl Iodide

Beyond Pesticides, February 21, 2012) Last week, the Monterey County Board of Supervisors urged California Governor Jerry Brown to reconsider the state’s approval of the carcinogenic fumigant methyl iodide. Monterey County, one of the largest agricultural counties in California, joins Santa Cruz County in mounting pressure to re-examine the controversial decision to approve the toxic chemical as a replacement to the ozone-depleting methyl bromide. This news comes at the heels of the announcement earlier this month that Gov. Brown appointed Brian Leahy, a former organic farmer and the former assistant director at the California Department of Conservation, to head the state Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR). According to The Californian, agricultural interests present asked County Supervisors to take no action. However, with dozens of local farm workers in attendance pleading their case, the board passed the resolution on a 4-1 recommending that Gov. Brown take another look at the fumigant. Methyl iodide is known to cause miscarriages, thyroid dysfunction, and cancer, and is applied to crops like strawberries and peppers. It was approved by California state pesticide regulators in December as an alternative to methyl bromide, an ozone-depleting chemical being phased out under international treaty. In 2007, EPA fast-tracked the […]



Judge Questions California Approval of Methyl Iodide

(Beyond Pesticides, January 20, 2012) A California Superior Court Judge has questioned whether the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR) complied with its legal obligation to consider alternative options before approving use of the toxic fumigant methyl iodide in 2010. Judge Frank Roesch raised the concern in comments from the bench during a January 13 hearing involving a lawsuit filed by farm worker and environmental organizations against CDPR and the Arysta LifeScience Corporation, which manufactures the methyl iodide products used in the state. The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requires that state agencies consider alternative options to a regulatory action that meets the definition of a “project.” Projects include an action undertaken by a public agency which may cause either a direct physical change in the environment or a reasonably foreseeable indirect change in the environment. A project may not be approved as submitted if feasible alternatives or mitigation measures are able to substantially lessen the significant environmental effects of the project. While CDPR’s pesticide regulations have previously been recognized as “projects” as defined in the CEQA, it is unusual for judicial review to raise concerns about the validity of the alternatives assessments. “Did you consider not approving methyl iodide? […]



Use of Soil Fumigant Still High Despite Ban

(Beyond Pesticides, September 12, 2011) While the fight continues over the use of toxic methyl iodide in California, new research is showing that the banned chemical methyl bromide, which methyl iodide was intended to replace, is continuing to be used in alarming amounts across the state due to a sizeable loophole in the regulations. While some may argue that this is simply a consequence of the controversy surrrounding methyl iodide, those concerned with human health and the environment point out that it is irresponsible and counterproductive to replace a devastating environmental contaminant with a highly toxic human carcinogen, especially when there are more responsible alternatives to both which can be employed. Most methyl bromide is used to fumigate, or sterilize, agricultural soils, especially those growing strawberries, though it is used for other crops as well. It is also used in high amounts as a structural fumigant to eradicate indoor pests. The most common applications of this kind are for residential termite treatments and for insects in food storage facilities. An investigation by New America Media has found that use of methyl bromide in California in 2009 was still at nearly 50% of levels from ten years prior, before the supposed […]



New Issues Arise Over Methyl Iodide Use

(Beyond Pesticides, September 7, 2011) California’s approval of the dangerous and controversial agricultural chemical, methyl iodide, suffered serious questions with the release of new documents showing the fumigant’s registration process was flawed. The documents, which were made public as part of a lawsuit challenging the state’s approval of the chemical, show the state’s Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) cut and pasted calculations from different risk assessments in order to come up with a less stringent set of restrictions on the chemical’s use. Earlier this year, several environmental groups sued the State of California for approving the agricultural use of methyl iodide. Methyl iodide is known to cause miscarriages, thyroid dysfunction, and cancer, and is applied to crops like strawberries and peppers. It was approved by California state pesticide regulators in December as an alternative to methyl bromide, an ozone-depleting chemical being phased out under international treaty. Environmental advocacy groups and other opponents of methyl iodide use in the state have released documents detailing dissension in the ranks of DPR over the risk assessment of methyl iodide and its subsequent approval. Earthjustice, a nonprofit environmental law group, sued DPR in an attempt to reverse the state’s approval of the chemical. The […]



Potent Carcinogen Methyl Iodide Used for First Time in California

(Beyond Pesticides, May 23, 2011) A California farm growing chile peppers has become the first in the state of California to use the highly toxic and controversial soil fumigant methyl iodide. Despite the concerns of farmworker advocates, medical experts, and environmentalists, as well as a pending lawsuit, the farm in Sanger, California applied the fumigant on May 17 after a permit for use was approved by Fresno County Agricultural Commissioner Carol Hafner. Methyl iodide is a highly potent carcinogen which was recently approved for use in California as a replacement for the ozone depleting chemical methyl bromide. The phase out of methyl bromide was mandated by the Clean Air Act and international treaty. Like methyl bromide before it, the use of methyl iodide has been expected to be most common on strawberry fields, though it has been approved for other crops such as the chile peppers, where it will be used to sterilize the soil to eliminate potential pathogens –but also will completely eradicate beneficial soil life such as microbes and earthworms. The California Department of Pesticide Regulation’s (DPR) approval of methyl iodide last year came over significant opposition from public health and environmental groups, as well as DPR’s own […]



Methyl Iodide Use Challenged by Farmworkers, Environmental Groups

(Beyond Pesticides, January 6, 2011) On Monday, a coalition of farmworkers, community activists and environmental health organizations announced a lawsuit challenging the approval of the toxic fumigant methyl iodide for use on California’s strawberry fields, urging the new Governor Jerry Brown to reverse the decision. The groups also submitted comments from over 52,000 members of the public urging Gov. Brown to act quickly to prevent the use of methyl iodide in California’s fields. The lawsuit was filed late last week by Earthjustice and California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc. on behalf of Pesticide Action Network North America, United Farm Workers of America, Californians for Pesticide Reform, Pesticide Watch Education Fund, Worksafe, Communities and Children Advocates Against Pesticide Poisoning and farmworkers Jose Hidalgo Ramon and Zeferino Estrada. The suit challenges the state Department of Pesticide Regulation’s (DPR) December 20 approval of methyl iodide for use in California on the grounds that it violates the California Environmental Quality Act, the California Birth Defects Prevention Act, and the Pesticide Contamination Prevention Act that protects groundwater against pesticide pollution. In addition, the suit contends that DPR violated the law requiring involvement of the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) in the development of farmworker […]



Corporate Pressure Defeats Science on Methyl Iodide

(Beyond Pesticides, December 3, 2010) Ignoring the assessments of top U.S. scientists and its own Scientific Review Committee, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) announced its approval on December 1, 2010 for use of methyl iodide, a potent carcinogen and water contaminant, as a fumigant in the state’s strawberry fields, nut orchards, and flower farms. The news comes one day after press events in eight California cities urging DPR to deny its approval, and after Washington State decided to not allow use of the chemical.Ӭ Methyl iodide poses great risk to farmworkers and those who live near fields where it will be applied as well as to air and waterways, should it escape into the surrounding environment. It is on California’s official list of known carcinogenic chemicals and has been linked to serious risks in reproductive and neurological health. A coalition of farmworker, farm, public health and environmental groups is calling on the administration of governor-elect Jerry Brown to work with his agency staff to undo this approval, and deny the use of methyl iodide in California. Specifically, the groups call on Brown to: Ӣ Follow the recommendation of John Froines, PhD, Chair of the Scientific Review Committee, to […]



Organic Strawberry Farming Leads to Healthier Berries and Soils

(Beyond Pesticides, September 7, 2010) A new study, entitled Fruit and Soil Quality of Organic and Conventional Strawberry Agroecosystems, shows organic strawberry farming results in higher quality fruit and healthier soils. A growing number of consumers are choosing organic foods, believing them to be healthier for themselves and the environment. While most environmentalists agree that organic agriculture is generally more sustainable than conventional, nutritionists who believe organic foods to be more nutritious are currently in the minority. A detailed comparison of organic and conventional strawberry farms is the first study to examine both the soil health and the nutrient content of the fruit produced. Researchers found organically produced strawberries, while slightly smaller than conventional have higher antioxidant activity, longer shelf life, and fared better in taste tests. Soils on the organic farms are also found to be healthier with higher organic matter concentration, and greater microbial biodiversity. California strawberries make up 25% of total production worldwide and 87% of U.S. production. Conventional strawberry production is notoriously dangerous for farm worker health and the environment. After phasing out the ozone depleting fumigant methyl bromide, the California government is currently considering approval of methyl iodide a chemical so carcinogenic it is actually […]



Washington State Denies State Registration of Methyl Iodide

(Beyond Pesticides, July 20, 2010) Washington state has denied approval of the highly toxic fumigant-based pesticide methyl iodide, and environmentalists hope other regulators follow its lead. Citing unreasonable adverse effects on human health and the environment, the Washington Department of Agriculture requested that Arysta LifeScience withdraw its application for the registration of methyl iodide on July 15, 2010. Beyond Pesticides encourages its California members and allies to contact the Governor’s office and ask that California, which is expected to make its final decision on the pesticide this month, follow Washington’s lead. All are encouraged to contact the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and ask that it reevaluate its decision to register methyl iodide. Find instructions for contacting the governor and EPA below. In a letter to Arysta LifeScience, Erik Johansen, Special Pesticide Registration Program Coordinator for the Washington Department of Agriculture stated, “WSDA is concerned that the proposed use of Midas products labeled in Washington could cause unreasonable adverse effects on human health and the environment.” Specific concerns stated in the letter include: potential for groundwater contamination; lack of data related to the pesticide’s ability to damage brain development; and cancer risk. Methyl iodide is promoted by the pesticide industry […]



New Report Documents Dangers of Drifting Fumigant Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, June 28, 2010) A new report documents high levels of pesticide drift in the California community of Sisquoc. Poison Gases in the Field: Pesticides put California families in danger, released by Pesticide Action Network North America and local community members, presents results of community air monitoring for fumigant pesticides in the central coast area of California, in Santa Barbara County. Using a simple monitoring device called the Drift Catcher, community members measured levels of a fumigant pesticide above the California Department of Pesticide Regulation’s (DPR) “level of concern” — even when all application rules were followed and no equipment failure occurred. “While we were monitoring the air, there were no violations of the County’s permit – and yet we found we were still breathing chloropicrin at high levels,” says Deby DeWeese, one of the community members who collected air samples. “Clearly the rules and regulations do not protect our families.” The Sisquoc monitoring, conducted during and after a soil fumigation in April 2008, found the pesticide chloropicrin in about half of the 57 air samples collected. Two samples had chloropicrin levels higher than DPR’s 24-hour level of concern for children, and the 19-day average level at one sampling […]



Public Comments Needed: California Proposes to Register Hazardous Fumigant Methyl Iodide

(Beyond Pesticides, May 4, 2010) On April 30, 2010, despite significant cancer and reproductive health risk, especially to farmworkers and people living near agricultural fields, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) proposed the use of a new and highly toxic pesticide, methyl iodide, for widespread agricultural use in California. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered methyl iodide in 2007 as a replacement for the ozone-depleting pesticide, methyl bromide. Environmental and public health advocates believe that blocking methyl iodide registration in California will prevent its use elsewhere, since the state will account for the vast majority usage and profitability nationwide. Public comments may be sent to [email protected]. If registered, methyl iodide will be used primarily to fumigate and sterilize the California’s strawberry fields, although the pesticide will also be used in nurseries and nut tree production. DPR’s proposal does not require neighbor notification before use of this extremely toxic chemical. As evidenced by California’s thriving organic industry, alternatives to fumigants exist and are in use in California. In a hearing on February 8, 2010, before the California Senate Committee on Food and Agriculture, two panels of California growers and researchers discussed a number of safe and effective alternatives to […]



Farmworker and Health Advocates Petition EPA to Cancel Carcinogenic Pesticide

(Beyond Pesticides, April 12, 2010) Environmental, public health, labor and farmworker advocacy organizations from across the country have filed a petition asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to rescind the Bush administration era approval of the highly toxic fumigant pesticide methyl iodide in light of troubling new findings uncovered in California studies. The petition was submitted on the birthday of famed farmworker rights advocate Cesar Chavez, who drew national attention to pesticide misuse on grapes in the 1980s. “In 1988, Cesar Chavez again put his life on the line to draw attention to farmworker rights when he protested the use of pesticides with a 36-day, water-only fast,” said Jeannie Economos, Pesticide Safety and Environmental Health Project Coordinator at Farmworker Association of Florida. “Over 20 years later, we should not have to be fighting the same battles. Methyl iodide use takes us in the dead wrong direction for workers, public health and the future of agriculture.” The movement to ban methyl iodide follows the legacy of Cesar Chavez: the pesticide poses significant, direct risks to farmworkers, their families and neighboring communities. Methyl iodide is a water contaminant, nervous system poison, thyroid toxicant and is listed on California’s Proposition 65 list […]



And the “Toxie” Goes to…

(Beyond Pesticides, March 12, 2010) Over 40 million Americans watched Sandra Bullock and Jeff Bridges win the best actress and actor Oscars at the 82nd Academy Awards last Sunday. On Wednesday March 3rd, Californians for a Healthy and Green Economy (CHANGE) recognized the year’s bad actors, bad chemical actors that is, at the first ever “Toxies.” CHANGE is a coalition of environmental, policy, labor, interfaith and other organizations working to regulate toxic chemicals in the state of California. Held at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood, the Red Carpet Event featured actors in character as various harmful chemicals. Toxies were awarded to the pesticides Triclosan and Methyl Iodide. The tongue-in-cheek award show was intended to bring awareness to the harmful effect that these chemicals have on human health and the environment. The timing coincides not only with the awards show season, but with the anticipated release of the final draft of regulations for California’s Green Chemistry Programs. The awards ceremony and accompanying report awarded Toxies to 16 bad chemical actors. The “winners” all affect human health and all have safer alternatives. The 2010 Toxie winners are: Worst Breakthrough Performance: Bisphenol A (BPA) Found in plastics BPA has been linked to breast […]



Scientists Again Raise Health Concerns about Use of Toxic Fumigant Methyl Iodide

(Beyond Pesticides, October 28, 2009) Transcripts released last week from an external peer review panel convened in September to evaluate California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation’s (DPR) risk assessment of the fumigant methyl iodide show that the panel’s leading scientists have serious concerns about this chemical. Methyl iodide is currently being considered for use on California’s crops, especially strawberries. The scientific panel held a public workshop, entitled “Methyl Iodide External Peer Review Panel Workshop,” on September 24-25, 2009 in Sacramento, CA as part of an additional, external peer review for methyl iodide. Previously planned public and scientific review processes were subject to cancellation or postponement by the Governor’s office. Led by John Froines, Ph.D., director of the Center for Occupational and Environmental Health at the University of California, Los Angles, the panel consisted of eight experts in various scientific fields. The scientists expressed concern over inadequate buffer zones, ground water contamination and drinking water exposures, body burden, neuro-degeneration, reproductive toxicity and carcinogenicity that are associated with methyl iodide use and exposures. Panel members also challenged EPA’s assessment and found EPA’s scientific conclusions on methyl iodide to be lacking. The transcripts and other workshop presentations are available here. These concerns underscore previous […]



Legislature Investigates Methyl Iodide, Slated for Use in California

(Beyond Pesticides, August 5, 2009) In a letter authored by Senator Mark Leno and Assemblymember Bill Monning, and signed by twenty-five state legislators, the signatories called on Governor Schwarzenegger to keep the controversial pesticide methyl iodide out of California’s strawberry fields. “We strongly believe that methyl iodide has no role to play in building a secure, viable and healthy agricultural economy in the 21st Century,” said authors Senator Leno and Assemblymember Monning. On August 19, the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee will meet to explore the approval of methyl iodide and the potential impact on workers. “While I am encouraged at the decision of DPR to pursue the external peer review and public testimony, I still believe it is imperative to devote a special informational hearing by the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee focused on worker health and safety issues related to the potential registration of Methyl Iodide,” said Assemblymember Monning. “We are pleased that this group of legislators is taking the lead to protect public health. The scientific review of methyl iodide is very important in this case because of the sheer number of hazards it poses–cancer, thyroid disease, miscarriages, and neurotoxicity. This highly politicized process needs a reality […]



California Governor Could Force Methyl Iodide Registration

(Beyond Pesticides, July 13, 2009) With the stroke of a pen, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger could bow to industry interests and force the California Department of Pesticide Regulation to register a new fumigant pesticide, methyl iodide. Highly toxic, and not approved for use in California, this chemical has been given a comprehensive review by the state’s own Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) and found to be one of the riskiest pesticides in existence. Scientists familiar with methyl iodide are asking Mr. Schwarzenegger to let science, rather than political pressure, guide this decision. “Methyl iodide is so toxic that scientists working with it in the laboratory take extreme precautions when handling it, using a ventilation hood, gloves, and special equipment for transferring it so it does not escape to the air,” notes Susan Kegley, Ph.D., a chemist and consulting scientist for Pesticide Action Network North America. “This degree of protection is not possible in an agricultural setting where the pesticide would be applied at rates of 175 pounds per acre in the open air. Buffer zones of 400 feet (a distance most growers would say is unworkable) for a 40-acre fumigation would still result in a dose of methyl iodide to neighbors […]



CA Reports Overall Pesticide Use Down, Use on Strawberries Up

(Beyond Pesticides, December 4, 2007) On November 29, 2007, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) reported 2006 pesticide use statistics that showed continued progress toward less pesticide use statewide. However, strawberry growers increased their reliance the highly toxic, ozone depleting fumigant methyl bromide. Overall statewide pesticide use declined by nearly six million pounds from 2005 to 2006 (from 195.3 million to 189.6 million). While use increased in landscape maintenance, public health and other categories, production agriculture saw a 10 million pound drop. Use of many high-toxicity chemicals, including carcinogens, neurotoxic pesticides and chemicals linked to reproductive effects dropped for the third consecutive year. “DPR works hard to promote least-toxic pest management, and our efforts are paying off,” said DPR director Mary-Ann Warmerdam. “At the same time, we will continue to strive for long-term success in pest management, and we have more work to do.” On the other hand, the Los Angeles Times reports that state strawberry growers, primarily around Oxnard and in the Salinas and Watsonville areas, applied fumigants to 5,000 more acres, using 132 more tons of the chemicals than in the previous year. That is a 9% increase in acreage treated and a 3% increase in tonnage. […]



EPA Delays Approval of Methyl Iodide

(Beyond Pesticides, October 4, 2007) On September 28, 2007, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) delayed approval of the pesticide methyl iodide, a highly toxic replacement chemical for the ozone-depleting methyl bromide (also called iodomethane), after more than 50 prominent scientists objected that the chemical was too dangerous. The decision surprised environmentalists who assumed the pesticide would most likely be registered despite opposition. According to EPA, it now “will address recent questions prompted by the pending registration of iodomethane.” On September 24, 2007, scientists across the country — including six Nobel prize winners, alarmed by the prospect of registering methyl iodide as a pesticide, issued a letter to EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson urging the Agency not to sanction the broad use of methyl iodide now or at any time. “The gratifying thing is that EPA has been responsive to people who are really concerned about this,” Robert Bergman, a University of California at Berkeley professor who organized the scientists’ letter, told the Associated Press. The letter criticized EPA’s scientific analysis, calling for an independent scientific review of the agency’s assessment. Methyl iodide and methyl bromide are injected into the soil at rates of 100-400 pounds per acre to kill soil-borne pests. […]