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Re: PANUPS: Methyl Bromide Drift

I thought the group might be interested in this letter published in the
Sacramento (California) Bee newspaper after the Bee published an article
based on the original Environmental Working Group press release.

Kathy Brunetti,
California Department of Pesticide Regulation
Our Web site: http://www.cdpr.ca.gov
Sacramento Bee
Transmitted via e-mail: opinion@sacbee.com


The Bee's report on a so-called "secret" study by the Department of
Pesticide Regulation ("State accused of covering up pesticide data", August
21), regarding  structural fumigations with methyl bromide, failed to
provide some critical perspective.

Early in 1996, the study was printed and sent to 15 major libraries,
including the California State Library and most university
libraries--standard procedure with studies of this type.

The study was on the agenda of at least one public meeting held by DPR in
1996, and subjects were noticed to hundreds of interested parties.

Public notice and availability of the study was included on DPR's Web Page
<www.cdpr.ca.gov>. In fact, the environmental groups who called a press
conference to criticize the "secret" report received it from DPR more than
a month ago after referring to DPR's Web Page.  We invite any member of the
public to request copies of DPR studies.  In many cases, you may access
them directly from DPR's web site.

DPR's critics said the "secret" study would have swayed a special session
of the Legislature to ban methyl bromide. But the special session was
concerned not with the toxicity of the chemical but only with extending a
deadline for research on the fumigant.

The "secret" evidence that any gas--including methyl bromide--could
disperse through air passageways, such as empty pipes, was not a revelation
of DPR's study in 1996, as DPR's critics declared.  This scientific
principle, known as Graham's Law of Diffusion, was first published in 1829.
In recognition of this, state law has long required a structure be
completely sealed before fumigation. The apparent failure to do so caused a
woman's death in Los Angeles last March.  This tragedy , in which conduits
connecting two structures were not seen by fumigators, should not be
compounded by those who would use it to their own advantage.

James W. Wells
California Department of Pesticide Regulation