Wednesday, March 02, 2016

EPA tries to ban a widely used pesticide to protect fish; two big chemical companies fight decision

The Environmental Protection Agency is taking steps to ban "the pesticide flubendiamide, which under the trade name Belt is registered for use on more than 200 crops," including soybeans, almonds, tobacco, peanuts, cotton, lettuce, alfalfa, tomatoes, watermelon and bell peppers, Stephen Davies reports for Agri-Pulse. Two major chemical companies, Bayer CropScience and Nichino America, have told EPA "they plan to fight the cancellation decision." Last month Bayer refused a request from EPA to remove the pesticide from the U.S. market.

"Once a Federal Register notice is published announcing the intent to cancel, the registrations will be cancelled unless the companies ask for a hearing under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act within 30 days," Davies writes. EPA said in a press release: "EPA studies that show flubendiamide breaks down into a more highly toxic material that is harmful to species that are an important part of aquatic food chains, especially for fish, and is persistent in the environment. EPA concluded that continued use of the product would result in unreasonable adverse effects on the environment. EPA requested a voluntary cancellation in accordance with the conditions of the original registration.”

Bayer and Nichino stated that they "do not agree that continued registration of flubendiamide poses unreasonable adverse effects on the environment. EPA's concerns are focused solely on the possibility that flubendiamide and a metabolite might accumulate in ponds and water systems to levels that may be toxic to aquatic invertebrates that dwell in sediment," Davies writes.

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