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California Department of Pesticide Regulation's Own Scientist Decries Registration of Strawberry Fumigant

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Science was "subverted" in the state Department of Pesticide Regulation's approval of the strawberry fumigant methyl iodide, and its use is likely going to have a negative impact on public health.


Those strong words came not from opponents of methyl iodide, but from the lead scientist hired by the DPR to conduct an independent review of the controversial fumigant. 


During a hearing Tuesday before the California Assembly Committees on Health and Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials, that scientist, John Froines, testified "there is no safe level for methyl iodide."


"It is painful for me personally and professionally to have to report the science was subverted in the DPR approval," said Froines, a professor of chemical toxicology at the UCLA School of Public Health. 


The fumigant kills nematodes, weeds and disease in the soil, and was registered by the DPR for use on Dec. 1, 2010. The same properties that make it an efficient pesticide also make it a human health hazard, according to opponents.