Toxic Pesticide Pulled from US Market

The fumigant methyl iodide has been pulled from sale in the United States by its Japan-based producer. The company announced that the decision to remove the pesticide was made “as part of an internal review of the fumigant and based on its economic viability in the U.S. marketplace.” The chemical is highly toxic and activists have been working to ban its use for years.

A spokesperson for the Pesticide Action Network noted that the product removal comes after vocal opposition from farmers and environmentalists, saying: “This decision is born of the tireless work of farmers, farmworkers, rural high school students and mothers who are keeping strawberries safe.”

Arysta LifeScience operates in 125 countries around the world and stated that it will continue to “support the use of iodemethane outside of the U.S. where it remains economically viable.” Their methyl iodide product, MIDAS, is registered for use in Mexico, Japan, Morocco, Turkey and New Zealand.

Methyl iodide was approved for use in by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2007 over the objections of scientists who said it was not safe.  It is injected into the soil before planting to kill insects, weed seeds, and diseases that may harm plants. Scientists are concerned about the health effects on workers who come in contact with the  chemical as well as its potential to pollute groundwater. Methyl iodide was brought into more widespread use after the use of another chemical, methyl bromide, was banned due to its negative effect on the Earth’s ozone layer.

While the removal of a toxic chemical from the U.S. market is a victory of sorts, methyl iodide is still being used elsewhere in the world on crops that cross international borders. Another concern is what will be used in its place. As always, there are no easy answers or simple victories for farm workers, watchdog organizations, or the consumer.

Related Stories:

Strawberry Fields Forever-Poisoned? Pesticide Threatens Workers’ and Residents’ Health

Methyl Iodide Is the Mother of Pesticides

Widely Used Weed-Killer Causes Reproductive Harm to Animals and People



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Teresa Wlosowicz
Teresa W.3 years ago

good news

Pamela W.
Pamela W.3 years ago

Grow you own !!!!! It's astonishing what you can grow in a very small space - you don't need a field to grow enough just for yourself !

I never use pesticides or weedkiller in my garden - my weed & pest killers are my thumb and forefinger (YUK, I know !) but it works for me !!!

And I get the BONUS of a multitude of wildlife visiting ..... and they lend a hand !!

Azle B.
Azle B.3 years ago

The United States Fumigates all imports with mercuric chloride.

Terri Hughes
Terri Hughes3 years ago


Lynn C.
Lynn c.3 years ago

Next question - what will they replace it with?

Miranda Lyon
Miranda Lyon3 years ago

Ditto to Debbie. Ann, we can dream...maybe someday.

Debbie L.
Debbie Lim3 years ago

A small step at a time. It's better than doing nothing.

Ann S.
Ann S.3 years ago

We should just all go organic.

Sue H.
Sue H.3 years ago

Great news

Linda Jarsky
Linda Jarsky3 years ago

"If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men. ---St. Francis of Assisi..."