March 4, 2016

EPA Moves to Cancel Belt Insecticide Use

Earlier last month, Bayer Crop Science refused a request by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to voluntarily cancel all uses of flubendiamide, or Belt, in the United States. As a result of Bayer’s refusal to voluntarily cancel the product, the EPA has issued a formal notice of its intent to cancel the product.

Belt is currently registered for use on more than 200 crops, including almonds, pistachios, lettuce, tomatoes and bell peppers. Despite the fact that the cancelation would be a significant loss for growers, the EPA still issued a notice of intent today to cancel all flubendiamide products produced by Bayer CropScience, LP and Nichino America, Inc. Although the EPA claims that the insecticide poses a risk to aquatic invertebrates, Bayer believes that that EPA’s methodology to evaluate the risk of crop protections tools is significantly flawed. Belt has an outstanding safety profile and is not an issue to human health, pollinators or beneficial insects. The disagreement is exclusively related to aquatic invertebrates in the sediment of rivers and ponds whose occurrence is predominantly concentrated in the Southeast of the United States.

EPA’s notice proposing to cancel all flubendiamide containing products is followed by a 30 day period, at the end of which Bayer will call for a review in an administrative law hearing. While under review, distributors, retailers and farmers can continue to buy, sell and use the product in their operations. United States and global tolerances are not and will not be affected by these proceedings.

Western Growers is currently assessing the Belt situation and is working with Bayer to determine the role the Association can take to help keep the product on the market. For more information, please contact Hank Giclas at (949) 885-2205.