Global Warming

Published on July 13th, 2009 | by Derek Markham

Proposed Pesticide 5000x More Potent Greenhouse Gas than CO2

Sulfuryl flouride

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Dow AgroScience’s proposed use of sulfuryl fluoride to sterilize soil in farm fields would release large amounts of a potent greenhouse gas, increasing the global warming effects of agricultural practices, says a group of scientists and activists.

A group of public health and environmental advocates are asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to deny a request for a permit from Dow AgroSciences which would allowing the company to release large amounts of sulfuryl fluoride, a toxic pesticide, onto farm fields in four states.

The main concern is the addition of huge amounts of additional greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, and the second is the high toxicity of the chemical to humans, wildlife, and the environment in general.

“The hazards of using sulfuryl fluoride in agriculture have not been evaluated.” – Dr Brian Hill, Pesticide Action Network

Sulfuryl flouride’s global warming effects are thousands of times stronger than carbon dioxide, and the release of the 32,435 pounds of sulfuryl fluoride on 65 acres of test plots in Florida, Georgia, Texas, and California would be responsible for the equivalent of millions of pounds of CO2 being released.

“Dow would like to sell this toxic chemical to farmers across the country – and will apply to do so if this test goes well. We don’t need more global warming pollution, so we’re asking EPA to nip this problem in the bud.” – Craig Segall of the Sierra Club

The groups’ letter (PDF) to the EPA asks them look at the impact on the climate and the toxic effects on humans and wildlife, including consulting with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The letter was signed by the Center for Biological Diversity, the Pesticide Action Network, the Alaska Community Action on Toxics, Defenders of Wildlife, and the Sierra Club.

Image: rmceoin at Flickr under CC License


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About the Author

lives in southwestern New Mexico and digs bicycles, simple living, organic gardening, bouldering, and permaculture. He loves good food, with fresh roasted chiles right at the top of his list of favorites. Catch up with Derek on Twitter, RebelMouse, Google+, or at his natural parenting site, Natural Papa!



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  • Do you have a source on that GWP value? If that is true should this gas continue to be used for fumigating houses for termites?

  • ray4a

    Another example of an engineer dreaming and money makers licking their chops. We need good science that is good for society not policies that promote more possible human health problems. Monsanto is fighting farmers from selling their unadulterated milk by advertizing that they do not contain an artificial chemical. We all know that floride is a poison, how is it that they want to “test” this material on farm plot’s. Don’t they have test completed in their lab’s. What were the reusults? What were the drawbacks? What outside testing lab did follow up test’s? Whithout these noterized documents they should not be allowed to do the test. If the test is O.K. ed then the company should have to secure a bond in a high enough demonatation that would cover the ENTIRE COST OF ANY FUTURE HEALTH CONCERNS FROM ANYONE CONCERNED.

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