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Methyl Bromide Ban Under the recently passed US Clean Air Act the Environmental Protection Agency EPA has prohibited the US production and importation of methyl bromide starting January 1 2001 Methyl bromide is an odorless colorless gas essential to the farming storage transportation trading and processing of more than 100 American crops including fruits grains vegetables cut flowers wood products and cotton Methyl bromide plays a key role is ensuring the safety and adequacy of the American food supply Eliminating methyl bromide altogether would result in severe economic injury to numerous sections of the agricultural economy throughout the US Despite years of effort and millions of dollars of public and private research safe cost-effective alternatives simply do not exist for most uses of methyl bromide Extending the phase-out of methyl bromide beyond the year 2001 and assuring the continued availability of methyl bromide where it is needed because of the lack of acceptable alternatives is an absolute necessity Methyl bromide is used as a soil fumigant As a soil fumigant in agriculture methyl bromide is used as both a pre-plant and post harvest fumigant to protect crops from harmful pests and diseases which can attack the roots and thus destroy and kill the plants Rauber 20 As a pre-plant treatment methyl bromide is injected into the soil once per year for annual crops This will effectively sterilize the soil killing the vast majority of soil organisms Examples of crops that rely heavily on methyl bromide as a pre-plant soil fumigant are tomatoes strawberries and grapes Gushee 4 In the late 1980s the US joined with 160 other nations in a treaty called the Montreal Protocol to end the use of chemicals believed to harm the earths protective ozone layer Montreal Protocol Methyl bromide has been assessed to have an ozone depleting potential of 06 by the 1994 Science Assessment of Ozone Depletion Therefore an agreement on the chemical methyl bromide was reached
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