WASHINGTON, March 31, 2016 - Bayer’s Crop Science has requested a hearing before an EPA Administrative Law Judge to defend its registrations for flubendiamide (trade name: Belt).
EPA asked the company in January to voluntarily cancel its registrations for the insecticide, used on more than 200 crops in the U.S. Bayer refused, resulting in EPA’s March 1 notice of intent to cancel.
The agency issued a conditional registration to Bayer for the product in 2008. One of the requirements was that if EPA were to determine that use of flubendiamide would cause “unreasonable adverse effects on the environment,” the registrants would have to voluntarily request cancellation. “Without that condition, the registration would likely not have been approved by EPA,” the agency said.
EPA said that studies 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.”
But Bayer said EPA, which previously concluded that Belt would not harm fish – or humans and other mammals, as well as crustaceans, mollusks, beneficial insects, pollinators, or plants – based its cancellation decision “on theoretical computer modeling which is, of course, dependent on many assumptions and inputs.”
Flubendiamide is registered for use on over 200 crops, including soybeans, almonds, tobacco, peanuts, cotton, lettuce, alfalfa, tomatoes, watermelon, and bell peppers. EPA said some crops get as many as six applications per year.
The entire hearing process, which will almost certainly include an appeal to EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board, must be completed within 75 days, according to the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act.
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