Ignoring assessments of the country's top scientists, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) decided on December 1, 2010 to approve methyl iodide—a pesticide that causes cancer, late term miscarriages and contaminates water—for use in California's fields. Though many pesticides are dangerous, methyl iodide will be one of the most toxic pesticides ever approved for use in the state..
On December 30 2010, Earthjustice and
California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc. filed a lawsuit on behalf of Californians for Pesticide
Reform, as well as many of our member groups including Pesticide Action Network North
America, United Farm Workers of America, and Pesticide Watch Education Fund.
Finally, on March 20, 2012, after years of promoting their product in the face of
scientific opposition, pesticide manufacturer Arysta LifeScience yielded to
mounting pressure and pulled cancer-causing methyl iodide off the US market. Arysta’s decision ends U.S. use of what state scientist
reviewers called, “one of the most toxic chemicals on earth.”
Department of Pesticide Regulation immediately followed Arysta's announcement by cancelling the registration of
methyl iodide, meaning that the chemical is banned for agricultural use in
California. In November 2012, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency cancelled methyl iodide nationally, meaning that it cannot be used anywhere in the country. These decisions came as California officials were drawing up plans to
help farmers transition away from fumigant pesticides, especially in the
state’s strawberry fields.