Q: Is your loofah sourced from a US grower or does it come from overseas? If overseas, since it is a plant product, how are you avoiding the chemical treatment?
A: Thank you for your question! The loofa is imported from India and does undergo Methyl Bromide fumigation prior to leaving India.
Methyl bromide is widely used throughout the world for agricultural crop pest control. The majority of imported fruits and vegetables are treated by methyl bromide fumigation and it is also routinely used in the production of over 100 crops within the US. The use of methyl bromide has been deemed safe by both the USDA and the FDA for agricultural/food crops. The major concern regarding the use of methyl bromide is that it contributes to the depletion of the ozone layer and therefore its use is being phased out.
With that said, methyl bromide is toxic in its gaseous and liquid forms. However, methyl bromide is a relatively inert chemical that doesn’t react with (i.e., get absorbed by) materials such as dried wood, plant and vine materials.
Methyl bromide exists as a gas at temperatures greater than 38.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Methyl bromide effectively kills pests and rodents who inhale the gas during the fumigation process. The gas dissipates very rapidly, and studies have shown that methyl bromide levels drop to non-detectable levels within hours of treatment. For imported materials, the transit time from the country of export (where fumigation occurs) to the final destination in the US is often several weeks to months which further allows for complete aeration of the treated goods.