New decision brings more angst.

Early this month the California Department of Pesticide Regulation approved restricted use for a new pesticide, Methyl Iodide. This product is supposed to be the best replacement for certain uses of the now discontinued Methyl Bromide pesticide, which can’t be used because of ozone issues. As usual, there were a lot of letters, data, discussion, etc. on both sides of the issue. Not surprisingly, there was scientific data showing the product could be used safely and data showing it could not. Letters from well-respected organization on both side flooded in. Those on the side that wanted the product thought that the decision as a good one and those on the side that did not want the product cried foul and vowed to fight for a repel of the decision. Does this sound familiar? Seems like a news flash from any number of decision and any topic these days.
So, how do we know that these decisions are made in everyone’s best interest? How do we swim through the flood of commentary to understand if we should be concerned or relieved? Well, if you think I have that answer I don’t. It is all just as confusing for me. I do know that I understand the process. I can look at all the studies that they do and see that they are looking at a wide variety of issues, human health, environmental health, worker issues, and etc. It seems like they are trying to cover all the bases, even if I don’t understand all the technical stuff. I try to look at the sources of the data, who is doing what and where the experts working on the issues are from. I take data that comes from the company that is making the product with a grain-of-salt and do not pay much attention to any scientific data that comes from sources that are based in organizations that have a track record of being anti-pesticide. And I trust. I trust that people who are working on these things are like you and me, wanting to do a good job and are able to use the skill and knowledge they worked so hard to get to come up with the best decisions. If, at some point down the road there is a problem with the use of this product, I will expect that the problem will be looked at in a professional manner and mitigation measure will be developed where possible or the product will be pulled if not. It is unrealistic to think that all possible future risks and issue can be foreseen.
Isn’t that all we can hope for with anything? We seem to have this idea that if a product causes injury that the makers should have foreseen it and since they did not they are held criminally negligent. Maybe I am just naive or too good natured but I just believe that most people are not out to destroy when they develop a product. That is not to say there are no problems with cutting corners or making faulty products or safety concerns and government standards, regulations and inspections are indeed needed.
Back to the Methly Iodide issue, the State of California has the most restrictive regulations for its use than any other state, as with many other pesticide products as well. They had done their best to look at the major concerns and figure out way to mitigate them. It is not going to be an easy pesticide to use but those that need it will be able to have access to it. Safety concerns were looked at and addressed and not ignored. It hard work of all the people who tirelessly worked on this decision should not be maligned just because people who do not want any pesticide use are upset.

If you are interested in seeing the information regarding this issue on the DPR website, here is the link: http://www.cdpr.ca.gov/docs/registration/methyl_iodide.htm

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