Methyl Iodide is a chemical compound that is dense, colorless and volatile. It is emitted naturally by rice plantations in very small quantities. Methyl Iodide is also produced in large quantities every year by algae in the temperate oceans. Besides this, it is produced in smaller quantities on land by terrestrial fungi and bacteria. The usage of Methyl Iodide as a pesticide was approved by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) in the year 2007.
Methyl Iodide is also known as iodomethane that is used as a pre-plant biocide to control insects, plant parasitic nematodes, soil borne pathogens as well as weed seeds. It is also used for preplant soil treatment for field grown strawberries, peppers, tomatoes, stone fruits, grape vines, nursery grown strawberries, tree nuts, and conifer trees.
The increasing use of Methyl Iodide has lead to the compound being proposed to be used as a fungicide, herbicide, insecticide, nematicide, and as a soil disinfectant. It is expected that it can replace methyl bromide (also called bromomethane) which is banned for usage according to the Montreal Protocol.
Methyl Iodide is registered for use as a pesticide in the U.S., Mexico, Uruguay, Guatemala, Morocco, Japan, Turkey, and New Zealand. There are some countries where registration for Methyl Iodide is pending and it is not used as a pesticide in those places.
A number of concerns have been raised against the usage of Methyl Iodide in pesticides. Several experts have criticized the approval given by United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) to this chemical compound. They stress that the agency did not conduct proper tests before approving the usage of this chemical which has been shown to cause cancer in lab animals.
A number of health experts have further raised concerns about the effects of methyl Iodide on unborn babies and young children while the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) revealed that Methyl Iodide is highly toxic to the environment and that it poses a serious risk to public health.
Despite these threats, Methyl Iodide was approved for usage as a pesticide in California on December 1, 2010. These decisions lead to protests by environmentalists, researchers and farmers. Many academics, including 24 California legislators and 54 scientists, 5 of which are Nobel laureates, also raised serious concerns and stressed that Methyl Iodide can cause cancer and contaminate water supplies.
If Methyl Iodide is used in your state, inform your community members and educate them about its harmful effects and encourage everyone to speak up against its use. Our health, the health of our children, and the health of our environment depend on it.