German chemicals company Bayer AG will halt US sales of insecticides containing flubendiamide after the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ruled that it posed risks to the environment, reported Reuters on 29 July.

Flubendiamide is the active ingredient in Bayer’s Belt and Nichino America’s Tourismo and Vetica insecticides and is used on crops including soyabeans, almonds and tobacco, with as many as six applications a year, according to the EPA.

Farmers and retailers would be allowed to use up their existing supplies of the chemical, the report said.

According to the Flouride Action Network (FAN), the EPA’s Environmental Fate and Effects Division concluded last year that “significant effects to aquatic organisms due to the use of flubendiamide could potentially occur in as little as two years” and asked Bayer’s crop science division and Nichino America to submit voluntary cancellations of their registrations.

The companies declined, setting up an administrative challenge, which went to the EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board, which had until 6 July to decide on the matter.

Bayer’s vice president of regulatory affairs Dana Sargent said that the product was safe.

“Bayer maintains the EPA’s actions on flubendiamide are unlawful and inconsistent with sound regulatory risk assessment practices,” the Reuters report quoted her as saying.

In its appeal, Bayer contended that the EPA shifted the goalposts significantly by deriving a toxicity endpoint for flubendiamide’s degradate, des-iodo, from a water study, not a sediment study, FAN said.

The sediment study had found “no observable adverse effects of the des-iodo to benthic aquatic invertebrates at any level tested”.