Yes, we know that methyl iodide, a popular pesticide for use on tomatoes and strawberries, is carcinogenic (meaning it causes cancer). What you may not know is that it seems to have been approved illegally. More from sister site Eat Drink Better:
Methyl iodide is one of the worst actors in the Big Ag Pesticide Toolbox. Known to be a dangerous neurotoxin, carcinogen, miscarriage inducer, and endocrine disruptor, the soil fumigant is currently under precedent-setting legal review in California. A major win for health and sustainability fans may be imminent, if the presiding judge rules that methyl iodide was illegally approved.
The poison was created by Arysta LifeScience Corp to replace methyl bromide, which (long after its approval for agricultural use) was found to damage the ozone layer. Methyl iodide was initially approved by the EPA in 2008, against the advice of the scientists studying it and with strenuous opposition by toxicologists familiar with its effects.
California has additional procedural hurdles for new pesticides to jump through after EPA approval, intended to add a level of health and environmental safety testing for newly introduced industrial and agricultural chemicals. But despite public outcry and scientific concernabout methyl iodide, it was also approved for use in California in 2010 — apparently in violation of California’s own regulatory procedures for new pesticides.
More on Eat Drink Better here: Methyl Iodide on Trial: Dangerous Pesticide Illegally Approved?
Photo: Strawberries & tomatoes via burgundavia (CC BY-SA 2.0 license)