Student Sustainability Collective: Public Health

Updates on Methyl Iodide, BPA, and the ACA!

Here are a few updates on some pressing public health issues:

Methyl Iodide

The fumigant Midas, or methyl iodide, is being pulled from the market! The pesticides manufacturer, Arysta LifeScience Inc., caved to the pressure of environmental activists and farmworkers adamant about the chemical’s link to cancer and pollution to air and water. The pesticide methyl iodide, most commonly used in the strawberry industry, has been recognized as a highly toxic chemical; “tests on rats and rabbits have shown that exposure to the chemical causes thyroid cancer, miscarriages and damage to the nervous system.”

Furthermore, the California Strawberry Commission and the California Department of Pesticide Regulation are together planning on researching alternatives to fumigants in a three year project that will focus on growing strawberries in “non-soil substances that are disease-free.”

FDA on Bisphenol A

Unfortunately, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration did not ban bisphenol A (BPA) despite evidence linking BPA – a hormone disruptor commonly used in canned food and liquid infant containers – to breast cancer and other health problems, including reproductive defects and diabetes. The FDA’s decision was released on March 30th and was highly awaited by activists, and especially the Environmental Working Group, an organization that has been conducting studies about the presence of BPA in the actual food and drink being packaged. The EWG reports that “studies have found BPA in breast milk, saliva, urine, amniotic fluid and umbilical cord blood.”

The Affordable Care Act in the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court case on the 2010 Health-Care Reform Law – The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – was heard 26 March – 28 March. The decision will be announced in June and will determine whether or not the law is constitutional or not, and whether the entire law will be overturned. The Washington Post has made available the complete transcripts of the hearing during each of the three days it was in court last month.