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Bayer CropScience has refused a request by the Environmental Protection Agency to voluntarily cancel uses of flubendiamide insecticide in the United States. Instead, Bayer will seek a review of the product’s registration in an administrative law hearing.
Flubendiamide is marketed in the United States as Belt. It is registered to control several lepidopterous larval pests, or butterfly and moth caterpillars. Among those are armyworm, budworm, cabbage looper, corn borer, cutworm, cotton bollworm, soybean looper and sugarcane borer.
Belt also is registered for use on a broad array of crops, including numerous vegetables, cotton, soybeans, peanuts, safflower, sorghum, sunflower, stone fruit, tree nuts, grapes, sugarcane and pome fruit.
The EPA claims use of the insecticide may harm benthic organisms, microscopic organisms that live in sediments of waters near agricultural fields.
Bayer disagrees with the EPA’s methodology, which is based on theoretical models. Years of water monitoring studies have shown residues of the insecticide and its metabolite are well with safe levels established for aquatic invertebrates, according to Bayer.
“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 Dr. Peter Coody, Bayer vice president of environmental safety.