Hundreds of people have bombarded California Governor Jerry Brown’s Facebook and Twitter accounts urging him to immediately ban the use of the cancer-causing pesticide, methyl iodide. More than 800 people have written on California Governor Jerry Brown’s Facebook wall and tweeted at him over the past 72 hours, with more messages being sent every hour.
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The news comes as activists staged mock fumigations on the steps of the Capitol in Sacramento and delivered a Change.org petition with more than 30,000 signatures to the Brown administration.
Methyl iodide – a pesticide linked to cancers, kidney problems, thyroid disease, late-term miscarriages, and other health problems – was approved for use in California by the Schwarzenegger administration in December of 2010 despite widespread opposition. After outcry from the environmental, science, and farm worker communities, Gov. Brown promised to “take a fresh look” at the approval of methyl iodide in March of 2011. Four California farms have obtained permits to use methyl iodide permits, but Gov. Brown still has made no commitment to discontinue the use of the pesticide in the state.
“The impressive outpouring of support from concerned citizens underscores the concerns of independent scientists – that methyl iodide is too toxic and too uncontrollable to be used near farm workers and neighboring communities,” said Paul Towers, Organizing and Media Director at Pesticide Action Network (PAN), an environmental non-profit. “With peak fumigation season fast-approaching, the Governor needs to take swift action to prohibit the use of the cancer-causing chemical.”
The outpouring of social media messages came as the result of a social media day of action organized by PAN and Change.org, the world’s fastest-growing platform for social change. The organizations urged people to tweet and post on Gov. Brown’s Facebook page on August 23, and messages continue to be sent today.
“The response to this social media day of action exceeded all of our expectations,” said Sarah Parsons, Senior Organizer at Change.org. “It was amazing to see Gov. Brown’s constituents completely take over his Facebook wall with their anti-methyl iodide messages.”
Many people shared very personal stories highlighting their desire for the governor to take action immediately.
“Governor Brown, please keep California’s strawberry fields and communities safe from the cancer-causing pesticide, methyl iodide,” wrote Huntington Beach, CA. resident, Jennifer Ford. “As a farmers’ market manager and health coach, it’s key that we keep chemicals out of our amazing locally grown food as much as possible.”
To view Governor Brown’s Facebook page:
To view Governor Brown’s Twitter handle:
To view the latest signatures on the methyl iodide campaign on Change.org:
Journalists interested in contacting the Brown administration should try:
Gil Duran, Press Secretary
Evan Westrup, Deputy Press Secretary
Elizabeth Ashford, Deputy Press Secretary
Christopher Reardon, Chief Deputy Director of the California Department of Pesticide Regulation