SALINAS, Calif. - Concerns are mounting over what some people consider a dangerous pesticide that could end up on Central Coast agriculture fields. Methyl iodide is often used on strawberries. The state approved it in December of last year, but a lot of people are fighting to keep it away including a local lawmaker.
Farm workers, teachers and mothers packed a forum at Hartnell College on Thursday night. They're worried methyl iodide will make people sick, even though there's been no reports the pesticide has caused any illnesses.
"This seems like a terrible terrible thing to unleash on our society," says Jovita Molina. "I wish they would really think twice about it."
Molina has children and grandchildren near strawberry fields in Watsonville. She's also the daughter of farm workers, who grow strawberries. Besides her health, she's worried about the health of her loved ones.
"There's been so many things, chemicals that have come out to supposedly help the growth of our agriculture, our fruit our food we eat," says Molina. "But, it usually ends up hurting us."
She's not taking any chances. Neither are these people who packed this room, concerned about methyl iodide.
"There's been really no dispute about the inherent dangerous properties of methyl iodide," says Assemblymember Bill Monning. "It's a neurotoxin. It can cause birth defects. It can cause genetic mutations."
Monning wants Governor Jerry Brown to repeal the use of it. While, no grower in Monterey or Santa Cruz County has requested using the pesticide, Monning doesn't want to wait until that happens.
"Better safe than sorry," says Monning. "Let's be methodical, less review the science."
He also said, there's safer alternatives. But, earlier this year, Central Coast News spoke to Arysta Lifescience, that manufactures the pesticide. The company said it's safe, especially since they have to follow strict guidelines.
So far, methyl iodide is approved in all 50 states with no reports of sickness. The pesticide is being used as alternative for methyl bromide, that will be phased out by 2014.
Methyl Iodide was submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency in 2002. They approved it in 2007.
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