California residents object to use of potential thyroid disrupting pesticide

This month, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation is considering whether to approve methyl iodide - a potentially cancer causing and thyroid disrupting chemical - for use in the state's fields, the Santa Cruz Sentinel reports.

For 18 years researchers have been working with farmers to find an alternative to the weed-killing but ozone-depleting methyl bromide. While the federal government has approved methyl iodide as a potential replacement, environmentalists and farm worker advocates have lobbied the state regulatory agency to withhold approval because of concerns over potential health effects.

"They use methyl iodide to cause cancer in lab animals," Bill Monning, chair of the state Assembly Health Committee, told the news source. "It's not a question of whether, it's a question of when. There will be human damage, there will be environmental damage and there will be water damage."

Some studies have shown that methyl iodide causes fetal deformity, miscarriage and thyroid disease in animals, and the chemical is listed as a carcinogen under state Proposition 65.

According to the National Cancer Institute, there are 19,500 thyroid cancer diagnoses in the U.S. annually, some of which may be a result of chemical exposure.
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