Thursday, December 2, 2010

California okays methyl iodide

© 2010 Joshua Stark

Yesterday, the State gave the final approval to methyl iodide, despite the opposition of dozens of scientists, and more than a few legislators. 

Back in June, I posted a piece using the methyl bromide-to-iodide controversy as a great example of "internalizing externalities".  In the case of this switch, it seems ridiculous to me that we should replace one chemical because of its impacts on the ozone layer with a chemical that stays closer to home, thus raising serious cancer (and other) risks. 

As sfgate.com reports, State officials are reassuring the public by claiming that this fumigant will only be applied by specialists, and the soil will be covered by an impermeable tarp... must I point out how much more awful that makes the product sound?  What a way to reassure!

And this reassurance illustrates, yet again, just how we structure our ag. policies to favor huge, monocropping companies.  How many mom-&-pop small farms will be willing or able to tap strawberries when the big companies are able to increase yield/lower prices by paying for "specialists"?  The burdens to entry into the strawberry market are thus ratcheted up, leaving it safer for oligopoly. 

Again, in the wrong direction with our agriculture.

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