After reading an article from one of our local news services, I was inspired to share what appears to be a positive change about alternatives to using the highly controversial chemical methyl bromide for fumigating imported goods. I was happy to learn that one alternative to the use of methyl bromide and other fumigants when importing fruits and vegetables is a technique called “controlled atmospheres,” which regulates temperature and atmosphere levels inside sealed shipping containers. Controlled-atmosphere technology is relatively inexpensive, highly effective, environmentally benign, and even improves the quality of shipped produce. Methyl bromide (MeBr) is an odorless, colorless gas used as a soil fumigant and structural fumigant to control agricultural pests, and is the most widely used fumigant for quarantine purposes. Here at Lifekind we are well aware of the dangers of methyl bromide, and it’s one of the reasons why we do not import our cotton and wool from overseas. Most people do not realize that the cargo ships transporting raw materials are routinely fumigated with dangerous chemicals like methyl bromide. There is confirmed scientific proof that the use of methyl bromide is one of the culprits contributing to the depletion of the earth’s ozone layer, and after recent damage to the East Coast from Hurricane Sandy, global warming is once again in the forefront of our national discussion. It’s important for people to know how much of an impact the emissions of methyl bromide have on the ozone layer. The ozone acts as a shield protecting life on Earth from damaging ultraviolet rays, which can cause sunburns, skin cancer, and cataracts. The rays can also harm marine life, and in the past two years, ozone holes larger than Europe have opened over the Antarctic Ocean. I definitely recommend you read the article to learn about the changes that are helping to combat planetary ozone depletion.