Methyl Bromide Risk Characterization in California
National Research Council, Division on Earth and Life Studies, Commission on Life Sciences, Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology, Committee on Toxicology, Subcommittee for the Review of the Risk Assessment of Methyl Bromide
National Academies Press, Jul 13, 2000 - Nature - 112 pages
Methyl bromide is gaseous pesticide used to fumigate soil, crops, commodity warehouses, and commodity-shipping facilities. Up to 17 million pounds of methyl bromide are used annually in California to treat grapes, almonds, strawberries, and other crops. Methyl bromide is also a known stratospheric ozone depleter and, as such, is scheduled to be phased out of use in the United States by 2005 under the United Nations Montreal Protocol. In California, the use of methyl bromide is regulated by the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR), which is responsible for establishing the permit conditions that govern the application of methyl bromide for pest control. The actual permits for use are issued on a site-specific basis by the local county agricultural commissioners. Because of concern for potential adverse health effects, in 1999 DPR developed a draft risk characterization document for inhalation exposure to methyl bromide. The DPR document is intended to support new regulations regarding the agricultural use of this pesticide. The proposed regulations encompass changes to protect children in nearby schools, establish minimum buffer zones around application sites, require notification of nearby residents, and set new limits on hours that fumigation employees may work. The State of California requires that DPR arrange for an external peer review of the scientific basis for all regulations. To this end, the National Research Council (NRC) was asked to review independently the draft risk characterization document prepared by DPR for inhalation exposure to methyl bromide.