Friday, January 7, 2011

Did you know that....

by Becky Johnson

January 7 2011

Santa Cruz, Ca. -- Did you know that Methyl Bromide, the Class 1 nerve gas and toxic fumigant used to sterilize soil prior to commercial strawberry plantings...

-- causes less than 1% of the ozone-depleting potential in the upper atmosphere of the world?
According to the California Strawberry Commission
-- has a half life of two years
-- is "natural" since it can also be found in natural sources like the ocean, wetlands and many plants.
-- was identified as an ozone-depleting substance in 1992 under the Montreal Protocol (an international treaty created in 1987 to protect the world’s ozone layer). The Protocol passed, along with an added-provision, a plan to phase-out the production of methyl bromide by 2005 in developed countries and 2015 in developing countries.

-- can still be applied to crops provided the countries wishing to continue its use, opt out by applying for a Critical Use Exemption (CUE). A country is deemed eligible if the country has conducted sufficient alternative research but is still unable to find a viable, safe alternative to methyl bromide."
-- California strawberry fruit production has been identified by the Parties to the Montreal Protocol as having critical needs for methyl bromide due to the lack of suitable alternatives, according to the California Strawberry Commission, and has been granted this exemption every year since 2005.
-- Growers threaten that "without effective alternatives, the loss of methyl bromide could make production unprofitable for a significant number of growers, resulting in fewer strawberries available."

May 16, 2002--The non-profit California Rural Legal Assistance settled its lawsuit suit against Monterey County and the state Department of Pesticide Regulation on behalf of a north Monterey County resident who alleged he was exposed to unsafe levels of the farm fumigant methyl bromide. The suit was filed last year after levels of the chemical were found to exceed state standards in air-quality tests taken near two schools- La Joya Elementary School in Salinas and Pajaro Middle School in northern Monterey County. Those tests found concentrations of 7.7 parts per billion far exceeding the state guideline for safe exposure for children.

-- is used primarily for profit? "Strawberry production is important to California's economy; the state leads the U.S. in strawberry production. In 2006, the fruit harvest yielded a value of $1.2 billion, and accounted for 79% of the total U.S. gross sales." --- from Science Daily Feb 9 2009

According to the University of California, the loss of methyl bromide would cost direct losses to California business up to $346 million per year, with 9,894 full-time jobs lost annually. --- Trical Inc.--a distributor and applicator of soil fumigation products

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