The EPA is issuing a notice of intent to cancel all Bayer CropScience and Nichino America flubendiamide products that pose a risk to aquatic invertebrates that are important to the health of aquatic environments.

Flubendiamide, sold by Bayer under the trade name Belt, is registered for use on over 200 crops, including soybeans, alfalfa and cotton.

Required studies showed 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 says it 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.

The EPA says it had issued a time-limited registration to the companies with conditions that were understood and agreed upon. If unreasonable adverse effects on the environment were found by EPA, the companies would submit a request for voluntary cancellation of all flubendiamide registrations within one week of EPA notification.

After being informed of the EPA’s finding on Jan. 29, the companies were asked to submit a request for voluntary cancellation by Feb. 5. But t
hey rejected EPA’s request to submit a voluntary cancellation, and the EPA initiated cancellation of all currently registered flubendiamide products for the manufacturers’ failure to comply with the terms of the registration.

After announcing earlier this month that it had refused the EPA request, Bayer said it would seek a review of the product’s registration in an administrative law hearing. The company says it believes the methods used by the EPA exaggerate environmental risk and would deny farmers access to a critical pest management tool.

“Denying a product’s registration and ignoring its safe use history based on unrealistic theoretical calculations calls into question the EPA’s commitment to innovation and sustainable agriculture” said Dana Sargent, Bayer’s vice president of regulatory affairs.

The registrants or adversely affected parties have 30 days from the date of the notice to request a hearing. The EPA says crops that have been properly treated with flubendiamide or that may be treated with existing stocks can still be sold legally. Provisions on handling existing stocks of the pesticide will be finalized once the products have been cancelled, the agency says. 

To view a copy of the EPA's Notice of Intent to Cancel and all supporting documents, click here.