Methyl Bromide is Too Dangerous to Leave Unmonitored

Methyl bromide is an incredibly dangerous air pollutant. Exposure to methyl bromide can damage our eyes, skin, lungs, kidneys, and central nervous system. Yet despite the risks, this neurotoxin is commonly used through eastern North Carolina at log fumigation plants, endangering the health of the communities that surround these facilities.

CleanAIRE NC worked for several years with our partners, community groups, and the NC Division of Air Quality (DAQ) to set limits on this toxin. DAQ ultimately established an Ambient Air Level (AAL) in 2020, setting a limit on allowable methyl bromide concentrations in our air. (That methyl bromide is the first air pollutant added to North Carolina’s list of regulated toxic compounds since 1990 indicates just how nasty this stuff is.)

While this is a good first step in regulating this toxic chemical, the allowable limit on methyl bromide is still far too low to adequately protect human health. For context, the current AAL of 1 mg/m³ is 200 times higher than the DAQ Science Advisory Committee’s proposed limit of 0.005 mg/m³.

CleanAIRE NC strongly believes that the health impacts of methyl bromide are so severe it should no be used at all. So when global corporation Ecolab requested air permits to use methyl bromide at their facilities in Wilmington and Seven Springs, we submitted comments to oppose these permit requests. In our comments, we also urged DAQ to implement a strong monitoring program to provide early warnings of where and when methyl bromide concentrations reach dangerous levels, along with rigorous reporting to notify impacted communities and protect public health.

You can read the full comments submitted by CleanAIRE NC at the links below.