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Bayer Refuses EPA Request to Cancel Use of Insecticide

Today, Bayer announced it has refused a request by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to voluntarily cancel the uses of flubendiamide in the U.S. Instead, Bayer will seek a review of the product’s registration in an administrative law hearing.

Sold in the U.S. by Bayer, under the trade name Belt, flubendiamide is
approved for use on more than 200 crops because of its strong pest
performance, favorable environmental and toxicological profile, and
excellent fit in integrated pest management (IPM) programs. Bayer believes the methods used by the EPA exaggerate environmental risk and would deny farmers access to a critical pest management tool, according to a Bayer announcement.

The EPA claims uses of flubendiamide may harm benthic organisms that live in the sediment of waters near agricultural fields. Bayer strongly disagrees with the EPA’s methodology, which is based on theoretical models and assumptions that exaggerate risk, according to the Bayer statement. The statement continues to say that years of water monitoring studies have shown residues of flubendiamide, and its metabolite levels are well within safe levels established for aquatic invertebrates.

“We are disappointed the EPA places so much trust on computer modeling and predictive capabilities when real-world monitoring shows no evidence of concern after seven years of safe use,” said Peter Coody, Bayer vice president of environmental safety.

Bayer rejected the EPA’s request to voluntarily cancel the flubendiamide registration and anticipates a hearing in front of EPA’s independent Office of Administrative Law Judges for a review.

“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 vice president of regulatory affairs.

While under review, farmers and retailers can continue to buy, sell, and use the product in their operations.

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