Remember 1993? The big hit movie was Jurassic Park. Beanie Babies were launched. The Toronto Blue Jays won the World Series. Seems like a long time ago, right?
One news item from 1993 that you may not recall was the phase out of a toxic fumigant pesticide called methyl bromide, under an international treaty called the Montreal Protocol. The reason for the phase out was that methyl bromide potently destroys stratospheric ozone, just like old aerosol spray cans. Without that ozone layer, we get too much ultraviolet light, and skin cancer rates soar. The whole world is impacted.
But thanks to industry pressure, the phase out was, well, slower than ice-cold molasses in an Arctic January, and was not scheduled for completion until 2005, twelve years later.
Amazingly, it's eight years past the 2005 deadline, and twenty years since the phase-out began, yet industry is still clinging to this toxic pesticide!
Right now, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), on behalf of strawberry agribusiness corporations, are asking Secretary of State Clinton and EPA Administrator Jackson to get more methyl bromide for California. Why? Because instead of coming up with safe, non-toxic alternatives to methyl bromide, industry's favored alternative was another toxic pesticide called methyl iodide - a chemical known to cause genetic damage, miscarriages and cancer.
But last year, thousands of people just like you helped force the industry to drop its plans to replace methyl bromide with methyl iodide. You know that a vibrant organic strawberry industry is booming in California and those farmers do not use ANY fumigant pesticides.
It's far past time for the strawberry industry to learn that we won't stand for a choice between miscarriages and skin cancer! Twenty years is long enough to find safer ways to grow strawberries, without these harmful pesticides.
Secretary Clinton will be leaving office later on this month. Tell her to leave us with a healthy legacy, one without more methyl bromide. Let's make 2013 the year of the healthy strawberry.
We should invest in safer alternatives, and end loopholes for already banned pesticides. Please deny the request by the CDFA, made at the behest of agribusiness, to allow more of the toxic chemical methyl bromide for use on strawberries. As your legacy to America, keep our strawberry fields safe and end exemptions for the use of toxic methyl bromide.