Since EWG published the study you are refering to, I'll take the
opportunity to answer your questions. First, the study, "A Shopper's Guide
to Pesticides in Produce", pub. Nov 1995, is available on our web page
Strawberries in California are the second largest user of methyl bromide in
the US at approx. 4.5 million pounds per year. The largest user is, of
course, Florida fresh tomatoes at around 8-9 million poounds annually
depending on the acreage planted.
>Does the Methyl Bromide stick around?
No, most of the 200 lbs/acre++ methyl bromide has either escaped the soil
(to the atmosphere) or reacted with some humble nematode or other organic
element in the soil by the time the seedlings are planted. It would kill
the plants otherwise. However, high residues of bromine salts can be found
in plants grown in heavily fumigated soil, but rarely MB itself.
>How do they keep the berries from rotting on their transcontinental trip?
Lots of fungicides preharvest and maybe some postharvest, depending.
Fungicides are what drove strawberries to the top of our most contaminated
>What pesticides are commonly used on Watsonville's strawberries that make them
>so residue laden?
Coincidentally, someone from near Watsonville just sent me the list of what
was sprayed on the field behind her house during April and May as reported
to the county Ag. Comissioner. The list included:
Captan (3 times)
Malathion (5 times)
iprodione (Rovral: 2 times)
sulfur dust and thiolux (also sulfur) (6 times)
benomyl (Benlate: 2 times)
abamectin (agri-mek: 2 times)
along with several other products.
That should give you some idea of the intesity of pesticide use. And
strawberries from Florida which hit the stores in mid-winter, also use a
lot of pesticides (especially fungicides) compared to the rest of the
Check out the USDA NASS reports of Ag. Chemical Usage Vegetables Summary
1994 is the latest for real numbers.
>The answer will be used to encourage folks here to grow strawberries and eat
>them in season in order to obtain the best flavor and help protect the ozone
>layer and their grandchildren's skin.
Bye now, Kert
Kert Davies ENVIRONMENTAL WORKING GROUP
1718 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 600
Washington, D.C. 20009
EWG web page: http://www.ewg.org
202-667-6982 fax 202-232-2592
Any opinions expressed are mine and not my employer's.