State regulators are set to approve the use of methyl iodide -- a highly toxic, potentially cancer-causing pesticide that is injected into fields before crops are planted.
The California Department of Pesticide Regulation hopes to use the chemical to replace methyl bromide -- a pesticide that drifts into the atmosphere and damages the ozone layer.
The chemical is already licensed in 47 states and will become legal in California fields after a statewide 60-day comment period ends on June 29.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved methyl iodide under the Bush administration in 2007.
So far, no problems have been reported, but researchers say that may be because very few studies have been held.