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US EPA nixes 12 neonicotinoid pesticides

by Britt E. Erickson
May 25, 2019 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 97, Issue 21


Chemical structures of clothianidin and thiamethoxam.

The US Environmental Protection Agency canceled the registration of 12 pesticide formulations that contain either thiamethoxam or clothianidin, according to a May 20 notice in the Federal Register. The companies that make the pesticides—Bayer Crop Science, Syngenta Crop Protection, and Valent USA—voluntarily requested the cancellations. The two active ingredients are neonicotinoids that were at the center of a lawsuit settled last year. The suit was filed by beekeepers and environmental groups against the EPA, claiming that the two pesticides adversely impact the health of endangered species and pollinators, such as honeybees. The court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, declaring that the EPA failed to assess the risks of the pesticides to endangered pollinators and other species. As a result of the settlement, the EPA agreed to assess those impacts by specific deadlines. The agency is expected to release an updated pollinator risk assessment and a proposed interim decision on the use of all neonicotinoids later this spring. Companies opted to discontinue making a dozen products that contain the two neonicotinoids at issue.


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