Bayer decides not to fight EPA over Belt insecticide

Bayer officials have decided not to fight the Environmental Protection Agency over the registration cancellation of flubendiamide insecticide.

In a statement Wednesday, the company said it was too risky to appeal the case.

The insecticide is marketed by Bayer as Belt and by Nichino America as Tourismo and Vetica. It is labeled to control a broad range of worm pests on more than 200 crops, including soybeans, peanuts, sorghum and cotton.

The companies have stopped selling the insecticides, although growers and retailers can use up existing supplies. That was one of the concessions the EPA made. Originally, the agency had sought a prohibition on sales or use of all existing stocks.

Had Bayer challenged the agency through appeals, it could have risked those gains.

Both companies received conditional registrations in 2008 to sell flubendiamide. At the same time, they agreed to voluntary cancellation should EPA scientists later determine the insecticide posed “unreasonable adverse effects on the environment.”

The EPA claimed use of the insecticide might harm benthic organisms, microscopic organisms that live in sediments of waters near agricultural fields.

Bayer disagreed with the agency’s methodology, which was based on theoretical models. Years of water monitoring studies showd residues of the insecticide and its metabolite were well with safe levels established for aquatic invertebrates, according to Bayer.

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