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EPA cancelled registration of sulfoxafl products by Dow AgroSciences for potential risk to bees

       U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals prosecuted EPA because the EPA did not have sufficient data when it first approved sulfoxafl. In response, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) U.S. cancels registration of products containing the insecticide sulfoxaflor On November 12, 2015.


Potential Risk to Honeybees

       Sulfoxaflor is the active ingredient in Dow AgroSciences products Transform WG and Closer series products. Dow AgroScience first sought EPA approval for sulfoxaflor for use in three products in 2010 and approved in 2013.

       However, organizations representing the honey and honey beekeeping industry challenged EPA approval of insecticides containing sulfoxaflor, saying studies have shown they are highly toxic to honey bees. Additionally, data provide by the U.S. Department of Agriculture earlier this year shows that losses of managed honeybee colonies hit 42.1 percent from April 2014 through April 2015, up from 34.2 percent for 2013-14, and the second-highest annual loss to date.

       As a result, Court demands EPA to cancel the approval of tow products with sulfoximine in 2013. Actually, EPA is supposed to analyze studies and data provided by Dow about the effects of sulfoxaflor on various species, including bees, and initially proposed several conditions on approval due to insufficient data provided by Dow. However, in May 2013 the EPA decided to go ahead with unconditional registration even though the record revealed Dow never completed additional requested studies. In vacating the EPA approval, the court said that "given the precariousness of bee populations, leaving the EPA’s registration of sulfoxaflor in place risks more potential environmental harm than vacating it."

Cancelation of Registration

       Pursuant to EPA’s cancellation order, and beginning November 12, 2015, distribution or sale by the registrant of cancelled sulfoxaflor products is prohibited, unless such distribution or sale is for the purpose of disposal or export. Also, stocks of cancelled products held by persons other than the registrant may not be commercially distributed in the United States, but instead may be distributed only to facilitate return to the manufacturer or for proper disposal or lawful export. Use of existing stocks by end users is permitted provided such use is consistent in all respects with the previously-approved labeling for the product.

       The court also requests that EPA must obtain further data regarding the effects of sulfoxaflor on bees as required by EPA regulations before it grants approval.

Response by Dow ArgoSciences

       In response to the cancelation and pollinator protection concerns, Dow AgroSciences expects EPA to review the scientific data results of the extensive data currently available on sulfoxaflor readily and thoroughly, and support pressing grower needs for protection against destructive crop pests. Also, sulfoxaflor products have been used for four full years of widespread U.S., as well as Canada, Australia and other nations, but with no noted adverse effects on pollinators.

       Dow AgroSciences also notes that contrary to misrepresentations circulated by pesticide opponents, sulfoxaflor is a sulfoximine-class insecticide, not a neonicotinoid, a distinction clearly established by the Insecticide Resistance Action Committee (IRAC) and published in the open scientific literature.

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