Market News & Headlines >> Bayer to Stop U.S. Sales of Belt Insecticide

Bayer CropScience, LP on Friday said it would halt future U.S. sales of its Belt brand insecticide in the U.S. after losing a battle with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which earlier found that the product’s active ingredient posed risks to the environment. 

An EPA board, however, ruled that farmers and retailers will be allowed to use their existing supplies of the chemical, Bayer said in a statement. 

The EPA in March issued a notice of its intent to cancel all Bayer CropScience, LP and Nichino America, Inc. flubendiamide products that posed a risk to aquatic invertebrates.Flubendiamide is the active ingredient in Bayer's Belt and Nichino America's Tourismo and Vetica insecticides. Flubendiamide is registered for use on over 200 crops, including soybeans, almonds, tobacco, peanuts, cotton, lettuce, alfalfa, tomatoes, watermelon, and bell peppers, with some crops having as many as 6 applications per year.

According to the EPA, required studies showed flubendiamide breaks down into a more highly toxic material that is harmful to species that are an important part of aquatic food chains, especially for fish, and is persistent in the environment. 

Dana Sargent, Bayer's vice president of regulatory affairs, told Reuters News Service the product was safe. "Bayer maintains the EPA's actions on flubendiamide are unlawful and inconsistent with sound regulatory risk assessment practices," she said in a statement.