Porphyria Educational Services
Porphyria Educational Services Bulletin Vol. 2 No. 31
August 6, 2000 FOCUS: Methyl Bromide
Porphyria patients always need to be careful of exposure to herbicides, pesticides and fungicides. DDT and marathion have long been known as hazards to avoid. Another chemical compound to avoid is that of Methyl bromide.
Methyl bromide is a potent nerve toxin that is extremely dangerous to people and the environment. EPA classifies it as a Toxicity Category I toxin.
In addition Methyl bromide has caused birth defects and damage to the brain and the CNS [central nervous system] in studies performed on laboratory animals.
Methyl bromide also depletes the Earth's protective ozone layer. This substance is now scheduled to be phased out in industrialized countries in 2005. But of course the harmful substance will still pose a threat to Third World nations. Methyl bromide is widely used across California and other parts of the west to grow strawberries, grapes and other crops. In past years California used nearly 14 million pounds of methyl bromide, making it one of the largest methyl bromide-using regions in the world. The product is used by fumigation application. Therefore porphyria patients living near or in these areas need to exercise extreme caution.
Methyl bromide can drift more than 300 feet from fumigation sites : To protect farmworkers working near fumigated fields scientists have shown that there should be a buffer zone at least 190 feet to adequately protect workers from short-term exposure of methyl bromide.
Under an upcoming international ozone protection treaty, methyl bromide use in the United States and other industrialized countries will be reduced by 50% in 2001, 70% in 2003 and fully banned in 2005. .
In years past the wide spread use of DDT, chlordane and malathion caused a wide array of health problems. The current list of chemical toxins that are used widely which can trigger porphyria attacks keeps on growing.
As a porphyria patient you must become acutely aware of the potential damaging chemical toxins that you may be exposed to.
Robert Short, PhD Environmentl Engineering