For several months my wife Ellen has been troubled by the fact that the EPA is introducing a new and highly toxic fumigant for foodstuffs like raisins and walnuts. They are proposing to switch from ozone depleting methyl bromide to sulfuryl fluoride (SO2F2). As she researched the toxicity of SO2F2 she was appalled to find two things a) how toxic SO2F2 was and b) how much of that toxicity appears to be caused by fluoride being transported to places where it would otherwise have difficulty reaching. She is also very concerned about the high fluoride tolerances being proposed for walnuts (12 ppm) and raisins (30 ppm). I am embarrassed to admit that I haven’t had time to study this substance with the urgency it deserves because of my other committments. However, I am very worried about what appears to be a general trend. As concerns are raised about chlorinated and brominated compounds used in commerce, more and more pesticides and other products are being switched to fluorinated varieties. This is particularly problematic because environmental groups which are very sensitive to chlorinated and brominated compounds ( largely because of their persistence, their endocrine disrupting ability and the formation of dioxins during manufacture and disposal) seem to have a blind spot when it comes to anything with fluorine or fluoride in it. However, organofluorine compounds are just as persistent, if not moreso, and many of them are extremely toxic and because there are so many being used, it would be a miracle if some are not also endocrine disrupting.
In my view, I think it is of the utmost urgency for the EPA to see that people are watching this issue. I know I am offering ridiculously short notice for this ( the DEADLINE for action is tomorrow October 5) request, but it would be really appreciated if our readers and FAN members would send either the very short email ( or one of your own) to this address: email@example.com
and also please note that you are required to type in the SUBJECT LINE of your email the following title “DOCKET: OPP-301166” .
I have grave concerns about the proposed use of sulfuryl fluoride as a fumigant. Based upon the research and comments of Ellen Connett, which have been sent to you, I strongly recommend that you give citizens and independent scientists more time to review this issue, by extending the comment period. As someone concerned about the existing sources of fluoride I am exposed to on a daily basis ( a subject on which the US government has done little serious research other than blindly promoting water fluoridation) I do not want to see yet another source added to this list, especially one that appears to be extremely toxic and one that causes brain damage in animal studies. Thus if you will not extend the comment period I urge you not to permit sulfuryl fluoride anywhere near our food supply.