R.J. Ruppenthal  @  ChelseaGreen

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Please Help! Stop Strawberries From Becoming More Toxic!

Posted on Saturday, May 8th, 2010 at 1:49 am by R.J. Ruppenthal

I grow as many of my own berries as I can, and buy the rest from local organic growers at farmer's markets. There is a good reason I do not buy "conventional" strawberries and it's called methyl bromide. MB is a dangerous and carcinogenic greenhouse gas that's been banned in most of the world but continues to be used in the U.S. under a special exemption. Now, here comes a second reason not to eat chemical berries: methyl iodide. You know how lab scientists give cancer to lab rats so that they can test for cures? Methyl iodide is the crap they give these rats to CAUSE the cancer. But it must be OK for us, because the world's largest pesticide company (Arysta Lifesciences) got the federal government to approve this poison, which it proposes to use for fumigating California's strawberry crop! (Strawberries, by the way, absorb chemicals, much more so than most other produce.) And FYI, California produces 80% of the nation's strawberry crop and more is exported, so wherever you live, you have a stake in this issue.

A story like this is so sickly stupid that it would not even pass muster in a bad novel, yet the corporate sell-off of our country is so complete that nobody pays attention. Well, normal people are not paying attention, but scientists are. Apparently, some 50 distinguished chemical scientists, including Nobel Prize winners, sent a letter to the U.S. E.P.A. warning them not to approve methyl iodide, but the Bush-era feds did approve it (wonder who owns them?). In the letter, the scientists referred to methyl iodide as a "well-known cancer hazard" in the chemical community because of its propensity in a laboratory "to modify the chemist's own DNA". Further, "broad use of this chemical in agriculture will guarantee substantial releases into air, surface waters and groundwater, and will result in exposures for many people." In the letter, the scientists then cite the E.P.A's own research that this chemical causes thyroid toxicity, permanent neurological damage, and fetal losses in lab animals, effects which the scientists believe could extend to a large number of people as a result of agricultural use. Again, the E.P.A ignored the warnings and approved this garbage. Yet it seems the California Department of Pesticide Regulation either hasn't gotten its check yet or is actually staffed by some reasonable people, because it has not yet approved the pesticide. Not that it isn't being pressured to do so, I'm sure.

Here's where you come in: the state has proposed approving methyl iodide and the public comment period is open now until June 14. And the Obama feds have signaled that California's decision may influence them to change course also. There are times when voters speak louder than money, and this could be one of those times. Click this link to sign a petition telling the state to REJECT Arysta's proposal to poison even more land, crops, air, groundwater, and human beings. And again, wherever you live, there's a good chance those are California berries in your local supermarket…and in your jam, berry yogurt, smoothies, etc. So you have every right to be as furious about this proposal as anyone who lives in the state. After you sign the petition, it invites you to e-mail your friends and tell them to do the same. Please do. Thank you!

Scientists' letter to E.P.A.: http://www.panna.org/files/meiReg20070924.pdf

Take Action! Sign a petition: http://action.panna.org/t/5185/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=975

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