After reassessing environmental impact, the agency wants to withdraw Bayer and Nichino America insecticides

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) intends to cancel its approval of all Bayer CropScience and Nichino America flubendiamide insecticide products, saying they threaten aquatic invertebrates. The agency cited research showing that flubendiamide breaks down into a more toxic material that is harmful to crucial species in aquatic food chains, especially fish, and is persistent in the environment. The EPA has concluded that continued use of the product would result in ‘unreasonable adverse effects’ on the environment.

The EPA first granted conditional registrations for pesticides containing flubendiamide in 2008. But in late January 2016, the agency asked both companies to voluntarily cancel their registered flubendiamide products by 5 February. That invitation was rejected, and the EPA says it has now initiated cancellation of all currently registered flubendiamide products.

Bayer is criticising the agency’s action. ‘Essentially, we performed the studies requested by the EPA and they showed no risk,’ company spokesman Jeff Donald tells Chemistry World. He says the EPA has based its analysis on ‘theoretical computer models’ rather than real world data. ‘We disagree with that approach,’ Donald states.

Bayer is seeking to review the product’s registration before the EPA’s Administrative Law judge. The company said the methods used by the EPA ‘exaggerate environmental risk’ and would deny farmers access to a critical pest management tool.

The EPA action against the insecticide follows the agency’s failed attempt in November to withdraw its registration for Dow AgroSciences’ Enlist Duo herbicide after new information suggested that its two active ingredients could create greater toxicity to non-target plants.