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