- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
Environmental and farmworker groups announced yesterday they have filed a lawsuit challenging the state Department of Pesticide Regulation's decision to register methyl iodide as an agricultural pesticide, according to reports in all of California's major media outlets.
The plaintiffs also appealed to newly inaugurated California Governor Jerry Brown to reverse DPR's decision, calling it "irresponsible and illegal."
Earthjustice and the California Rural Legal Assistance Inc. believe state pesticide regulators improperly cut off public comment on the chemical's approval, didn't listen to their own scientists and failed to use good scientific data in deciding to permit methyl iodide use in California agriculture.
Lea Brooks, the spokeswoman for the Department of Pesticide Regulation, said the chemical has been studied more than any pesticide in the department's history, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
"Methyl iodide can be used safely under its toughest-in-the-nation health-protective measures, including stricter buffer zones, more groundwater protections, reduced application rates and stronger protections for workers," Brooks was quoted in the Chron.
Methyl iodide is a substitute for methyl bromide, an ozone depleter that is being phased out. UC Riverside emeritus chemist Jim Sims first proposed the use of methyl iodide as an alternate soil fumigant. It is registered to Tokyo-based manufacturer Arysta LifeScience Corp.
Some of the other newspapers that covered the story were: