From TheCalifornian.com, “Pesticide foes plan protest in Salinas,” 25 Apr 2011.
[Salinas, CA] — A group of Salinas-area residents opposed to the use of a controversial crop fumigant plans to protest today outside a meeting of local growers and one of the makers of the chemical.
Dana Perls of Pesticide Watch said a coalition including teachers, farm workers and environmentalists will gather at 9:30 a.m. on West Laurel Drive, near to where the growers will meet, to protest against the use of methyl iodide. The fumigant is planned for use in the cultivation of strawberries — Monterey County’s No. 1 crop — and other crops. Methyl iodide has been approved for use in California and 46 other states. But opponents point to studies that conclude the chemical is a carcinogen.
“No one who knows the truth about methyl iodide wants it to be used in the fields,” said Jenn Laskin, a Watsonville teacher and member of the coalition.
“We care deeply about farm-worker health and about the health of our soil and water. The fact that they want to put a chemical whose primary purpose is to cause cancer in lab animals on our soil is a crime. The developers and salespeople for this chemical should be ashamed of themselves.”
Arysta LifeScience, maker of the fumigant, whose trade name is Midas, is the company meeting today with growers. Its website describes Midas as “a broad-spectrum soil fumigant that effectively controls a broad range of soil-borne diseases, nematodes, weed seeds and insects that threaten high-value crops.”