Your Strawberries (and the People Who Grow Them) Are Safer Today
Good riddance to one of the most toxic chemicals in conventional agriculture’s arsenal. Battered by environmentalists and farmworkers and entangled in a lawsuit, Arysta LifeScience, the Japanese company that sells the fumigant methyl iodide, has decided to pull the pesticide from the market in the United States. “The decision was made as part of an internal review of the fumigant based on its economic viability in the U.S.,” the company said in a press release.
Methyl iodide, or iodomethane, is injected into the soil prior to planting, where it sets about killing all living organisms -- every insect, worm, bacteria, fungus, and virus. “It’s like chemotherapy,” one horticulturalist told me. The chemical is particularly popular among strawberry and tomato growers (see “Kicking the Chemical Habit”).