Re "Pesticides are critical to providing a safe, reliable food supply" (Viewpoints, Aug. 6): The head of California's Department of Pesticide Regulation recently said his department depends on painstaking scientific research. If only this were true.
DPR ignored science and advantaged pesticide manufacturers over consumers, when it registered the cancer-causing pesticide methyl iodide, over the objections of 54 scientists from the National Academy of Science and DPR's own independent scientific advisory committee.
Worse, when the manufacturer said it was not economically viable to distribute methyl iodide unless buffer zones around communities were made smaller, DPR recalculated and increased the amount of the pesticide it said was needed before humans would become ill if exposed. This allowed for smaller buffer zones.
Fortunately my organization, California Rural Legal Assistance, and Earthjustice sued DPR, and methyl iodide was deregistered and forced off the market. If California truly has the most protective pesticide regulations in the world, why did DPR register methyl iodide when Europe refused?
-- Michael Marsh, Salinas