Turns out people really don't like their strawberries messed with.
The recent uproar about a new cancer-causing chemical in strawberry fields started here in California. It's since gone nationwide – and if you want to help keep strawberries cancer-free, there are plenty of ways to join in.
Here's the story, in a nutshell:
- EPA approved the pesticide methyl iodide in 2007 as a substitute for the ozone-depleting pesticide methyl bromide.
- Methyl iodide causes cancer and is extremely toxic. One respected scientist called it “one of the most toxic chemicals on earth.”
- Like methyl bromide, the new pesticide kills everything in the soil (including the good bugs and other organisms that keep soil healthy).
- As he was leaving office in December 2010, Governor Schwarzenegger approved use of the pesticide on California's strawberry fields, overriding the recommendations of the state's own scientists.
So while this battle has been raging for awhile, now things are really heating up.
The very public spotlight on the warnings of California's scientific review panel about the dangers of methyl iodide — along with a legal petition — has finally led EPA to reconsider the chemical's approval. In an unprecedented move, more than 35 California legislators submitted a joint letter in early April urging EPA to “suspend and cancel all uses" of the pesticide.
This is where strawberry lovers come in. Pesticide Action Network and its partners are collecting names of tens of thousands of people who support cancer-free strawberry fields. We hope to deliver 200k signatures to EPA before the May 10th deadline.
Eaters across the country are also taking a personal pledge to support safe strawberries, and urging their grocery stores to sign on too. California groups have developed a Safe Strawberry Action Guide outlining all kinds of ways to help.
If you think cancer-free berries are a good idea, please sign this petition, then take a minute to forward it along to all your strawberry-loving friends.