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September 10, 2019 - grist

How strawberry farmers got themselves (and the ozone layer) out of a jam

How strawberry farmers got themselves (and the ozone layer) out of a jam
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When you bite into a fragrant strawberry, you probably aren’t thinking about the chemicals used to grow it.

But to protect the fragile fruit from disease, farmers inject gases into the ground in an attempt to kill everything in the soil before planting. Up until recently, methyl bromide was the most important of these soil fumigants. From the 1960s on, the strawberry industry’s growth was fueled by this highly effective odorless, colorless gas. Then scientists discovered that it destroys the ozone layer, and in 2005, the EPA started phasing out the chemical. Its use is now mostly restricted to nurseries.

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