Delving Into Crop Fumigants
I read with interest the business article on fumigants (C&EN, June 8, page 18). I find it hard to believe that the California State Legislature would approve methyl iodide as a crop fumigant. I base this on both its potential toxicity to farmworkers (it is a powerful alkylating agent) and on the lack of scientific studies that may turn up currently unknown oncogenicity, genotoxicity, and neurotoxicity.
Could the Environmental Protection Agency focus some of its attention away from carbon dioxide long enough to fund this important work? Does the $2.6 billion strawberry crop hold any sway?
Geoff LindsayI don't know the science around methyl iodide, but it seems to me that it would be a bit less hazardous to farmworkers than methyl bromide (from a volatility perspective.) That said, I'd expect it to be no less toxic to them, if exposed to enough. Surely there must be a safer alternative?