Business

EPA bans sale of pesticide that’s toxic to honey bees

Pesticides

The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday cancelled permission to use Sulfoxaflor, a chemical harmful to honey bees.

It’s the end of the line for sulfoxaflor, a pesticide used on a wide array of produce, but that has been found to be toxic to honey bees that are crucial to pollination of crops.

The federal Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday officially prohibited further sales and distribution of the chemical, produced by Dow AgroSciences. Growers who have a stock of the pesticide can still apply it, according to the EPA cancellation order.

The action came in response to a September decision in the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that overturned EPA’s previous approval of the chemical for use on crops such as citrus, cotton, canola, strawberries, soybeans and wheat.

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Sold under the brand names Closer and Transform, sulfoxaflor is an insecticide aimed at piercing and sucking insects such as aphids and lygus. 

California regulators had limited the insecticide’s application to lettuce, which does not attract bees, but moved to block further use after the court decision. 

Dow AgroSciences said concerns about harm to bees could easily have been addressed by EPA without rescinding permission to use the chemical. 

Follow me on Twitter: @LATgeoffmohan

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