THIS WEEK on CHANGE.ORG
Death by Strawberries
Plus: Sad Toy Story • Legal Pedophilia • Lesbian Coach Fired • Autistic Boy's Dog Denied • Boyfriend Fights Deportation
The toxins in methyl iodide are so potent that the chemical is used to grow cancer cells in laboratory settings. It can cause severe brain damage, miscarriages, and thyroid diseases.
Thanks to a decision last week by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR), this substance could soon be used on the strawberries in your supermarket. The agency approved methyl iodide as a pesticide for the state’s strawberry fields, and farmers could start spraying it as early as this spring.
The scientific community has spoken loudly against the toxin. Six Nobel laureate recommended banning the use of methyl iodide completely back in 2007, and earlier this year all eight independent researchers on DPR’s scientific advisory panel expressed serious concerns about using the chemical as a pesticide.
But scientific warnings were no match for an intense lobbying effort by a Japanese chemical firm that produces methyl iodide, Arysta LifeScience, and a full-court press by the state’s powerful $2 billion per year strawberry-growing industry. In response to this pressure, the DPR approved use of the chemical at 100 times the level scientists consider safe.
Even if you don’t live in California, this affects you -- the Golden State grows roughly 90 percent of all strawberries sold in the United States.
It’s not too late to take action. California’s Governor-Elect, Jerry Brown, who has a solid environmental track record, will take office on January 3rd. With enough attention on the issue, there’s a good chance he’ll put consumers’ safety before corporate interests.
Local consumer, environmental, and farmworker groups are banding together to speak out, holding six protests throughout the state last week. California’s leading newspapers are condemning the decision. With a huge outcry, Change.org members can help push this fight over the top.
Join the grassroots group Pesticide Action Network in calling on Governor-Elect Brown to commit to banning methyl iodide as soon as he takes office.
For more news and opportunities for action from this week in change, see the summaries from your favorite causes below.
Sad Toy Story in HEALTH
Just in time for the holidays, a new report indicates that Toys”R”Us is still selling toys containing the toxic plastic PVC, even though the store had promised to phase out the chemical two year ago. Consumer groups have launched a "ToxicToysRUs" campaign to put pressure on the mega-retailer to live up its pledge and keep kids safe. Read more »
Legal Pedophilia in HUMAN RIGHTS
The majority of Saudi citizens support criminalizing child marriage, but a year after a government promise to outlaw it, thousands of young girls continue to be subjected to this legally sanctioned form of pedophilia. As a Saudi blogger writes on Change.org, local activism is starting to show small signs of success, but more international pressure is needed. Read more »
Lesbian Coach Fired in GAY RIGHTS
A few weeks ago, school administrators at Belmont University refused to approve a campus group for gay Christian students. Now the school is at it again, with students on the university's women's soccer team saying that their coach, Lisa Howe, was forced to resign because she announced she was having a baby with her same-sex partner. Read more »
Autistic Boy's Dog Denied in ANIMALS
For autistic six-year-old J.C. Bowen, his golden retriever, Pepsi is the prescription that helps him get through life and protects him from injury during seizures. But on school days, J.C. is on his own, because the Collier County School District won't let his service dog in the building. J.C.'s mom is demanding that the district comply with the law and allow the dog in schools. Read more »
Boyfriend Fights Deportation in IMMIGRANT RIGHTS
In less than a week, thousands of people from California and beyond have signed a Change.org petition calling for the release California college student Regina Husman and her mother from immigration detention. The outpouring of support is lead by Regina's six-year boyfriend, Benjamin Young, who launched the petition and a campaign website to get the two asylum-seekers home in time for Christmas. Read more »
Have a great week,
– The Change.org Team