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EPA to allow use of pesticide very highly toxic to bees, says it's OK

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Christian Fernsby |
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America   EPA’s registration also includes updated requirements for product labels

The EPA announced it is again allowing the widespread use of sulfoxaflor insecticide.

“EPA is providing long-term certainty for U.S. growers to use an important tool to protect crops and avoid potentially significant economic losses, while maintaining strong protection for pollinators,” said Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention.

EPA’s registration also includes updated requirements for product labels, which will include crop-specific restrictions and pollinator protection language.

Sold under the brand names Closer and Transform, sulfoxaflor controls aphids in soybeans and tarnished plant bugs (lygus) in cotton.

It also can be used for insect control in corn, sorghum, alfalfa and various fruits and vegetables.

Originally approved for farmers’ use in 2013, the insecticide was positioned as an alternative to neonicotinoids.

But the EPA then moved to ban sulfoxaflor use in 2015 following a lawsuit brought by beekeepers, environmental groups, and honey-industry advocates.

Michele Colopy program director of the Pollinator Stewardship Council told AP that sulfoxaflor is wiping out beneficial bugs.

The council represents beekeepers and was among those that sued to have it banned.

However, EPA assistant administrator Alexandra Dunn said in the AP story that new industry studies, that haven't been made public, show a low level of risk to bees and other wildlife.


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