EPA proposes allowing use of Transform insecticide, but not on soybeans or cotton

Transform insecticideThe Environmental Protection Agency has proposed allowing the use of sulfoxaflor insecticide again but on fewer crops and with additional pollinator-protection measures.

The insecticide, marketed as Transform and Closer by Dow AgroSciences, was pulled from the market in 2015 after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled the agency had not properly evaluated its effects on pollinators. A broad group, pollinators include honey bees, other bee species, some butterfly and moth species, and several other insects.

The proposed amended registration would prohibit use of the sulfoximine class of insecticides on five crops on which it had been previously registered: citrus, cotton, curcurbits (squash, pumpkins, cucumbers, watermelons and other melons), soybeans and strawberries, according to an EPA news release.

The amended Section 3 registration would allow applications to barley, triticale and wheat, since they are considered “not bee attractive.”

Users also could apply the insecticide to several leafy vegetables, provided they are harvested before blooming.

Other crops, considered “bee attractive,” would be limited to applications only after bloom. They include berries, canola, fruiting vegetables, pome fruit, potatoes, stone fruit, succulent and dry beans, and tree nuts. The goal is to further reduce or eliminate pollinator exposure in crops that attract bees during bloom.

The proposed registration and accompanying label would not allow use of sulfoxaflor on what the EPA calls “indeterminate blooming crops” — citrus, cotton, curcurbits (squash, pumpkins, cucumbers, watermelons and other melons), soybeans and strawberries.

Other measures tied to the amended registration include application prohibitions if winds are greater than 10 mph and use of medium to course spray nozzles.

EPA is seeking public comment on two provisions. One would impose a 12-foot downwind buffer zone when blooming vegetation borders a treated field. The other would prohibit tankmixing sulfoxaflor with other pesticides. Deadline to comment is June 17. Read more, including how to comment, on the Federal Register.

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