From the Salinas Californian:

No one claims that methyl iodide is harmless. It's a toxin and potential carcinogen. But it's also a critical pesticide that could keep California's $2 billion-a-year strawberry crop bringing in the revenue.

In the 10 months methyl iodide has been registered in California, no one in Monterey County has used it or even applied to use it, but the debate over whether anyone should is fresher than ever.

But some anti-pesticide groups, Salinas-area officials and some scientists say that methyl iodide is too toxic for humans and the environment.

"One of my interests is to make sure that we don't move too quickly toward the application of a chemical that we know has properties that can cause cancer, is a neurotoxin, can cause birth defects, can cause genetic mutation, and is a water contaminant," said Assemblyman Bill Monning, D-Carmel.

But the California Department of Pesticide Regulation says if farmers follow the department's strict restrictions, they can use methyl iodide harmlessly.

The public debate has led to intense scrutiny and a lawsuit over California's relatively rigorous pesticide registration process, as well as generated unanswered questions about how much risk is too much risk.

For more, see: Critics take on methyl iodide in Salinas Valley, California