Around 90 percent of U.S strawberries are produced in California and most of the crops contain toxic chemicals. Strawberry growers have used chloropicrin for a long time, but its use has increased over the past few years as an alternative to methyl bromide. Back in 2008, the US EPA re-approved chloropicrin as safe for use in agriculture, stating that treatments “can provide benefits to both food consumers and growers.”
As a result, many farmers injected chloropicrin into the soil of strawberries, almonds, and raspberries. However, this chemical has been associated with various health issues, including neurological problems, endocrine disruption, respiratory damage, cancer, and many more.
It belongs in the group of pulmonary agents and it is considered as a potent irritant. It also causes bronchitis, pulmonary edema, vomiting, and lacrhymation.
Chloropicrin is classified as a Class I Toxin by EPA and according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, chloropicrin is classified chloropicrin, which has been used as a soil fumigant since 1920, as a Class I toxin. Chloropicrin is “an irritant with characteristics of a tear gas that was manufactured as a chemical warfare agent during World War I.”
During World War I, armies used chloropicrin as an agent of chemical warfare. In fact, it would penetrate gas masks and make soldiers vomit, which forced them to remove the masks and thus make them susceptible to even more detrimental gasses.
As mentioned above, this chemical is a fumigant which kills bacteria, insects, and weeds. It has been scientifically shown that it even causes cancer in rats and mice. As stated on EPA`s website, “In rats that received subcutaneous injections, subcutaneous sarcomas, and pulmonary metastases were reported. An increased incidence of lung tumors was reported in mice exposed to high levels of methyl iodide by intraperitoneal injection.”
According to soil science expert Margaret Reeves, PhD, senior scientist with Pesticide Action Network, “With names like methyl bromide, chloropicrin, and Telone (1,3-D), these fumigants are linked to cancer, hormone disruption, and developmental problems in children.” She also adds that they have waited for too long for action and that “California and federal officials need to create a clear roadmap to phase the use of these chemicals out of all agricultural production by 2020.”