EPA has issued a cancellation order for products containing sulfoxaflor – including Transform – in response to a September ruling by the Nine Circuit Court of Appeals that vacated the product registrations.
In the ruling, the Court ruled that the EPA violated federal law when it approved the pesticide’s registration without additional studies regarding potential impact on honeybees.
The cancellation order means distribution or sale of sulfoxaflor products are prohibited, unless expressly designated for disposal or export. Use of existing product stocks by growers is permitted, as long as the use follows the product’s approved labeling.
Maximum pesticide residue levels for sulfoxaflor are not impacted by the Court’s decision or by the cancellation order. Crops that were properly treated with sulfoxaflor – as well as those that may be treated with existing stocks – can still be legally sold.
Dow AgroSciences issued a statement following the EPA action:
“As a result of the extensive data currently available on sulfoxaflor, Dow AgroSciences expects the pollinator protection concerns expressed in a recent Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision (September 10) to be readily and thoroughly addressed by EPA through further review of scientific data, supporting pressing grower needs for protection against destructive crop pests with renewed U.S. registrations of sulfoxaflor-containing products.
“Four full years of widespread U.S. product use – with additional use in Canada, Australia and other nations – have demonstrated excellent sulfoxaflor performance worldwide with no noted adverse effects on pollinators.
“Registrations outside the U.S. of sulfoxaflor-containing products should not be impacted by this decision. U.S. tolerances for sulfoxaflor are similarly unaffected.
“As part of its recent action, EPA has issued an existing stocks provision allowing growers to use sulfoxaflor-containing products they have in hand, consistent with directions on the pre-existing product label. Dow AgroSciences is, however, disappointed with EPA’s existing stocks provision which effectively removes a critical tool from the American grower by not allowing existing inventories of sulfoxaflor-containing products to be sold and distributed to end-users while EPA considers its next steps.
“Dow AgroSciences remains confident in the benefits offered by this new class of insecticides and will work diligently with EPA and States to achieve new registrations for these important products to support the American grower.
“Dow AgroSciences 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. Dow AgroSciences 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.”
Extension entomologists in Mississippi have reviewed the ruling, and expressed their concerns in a recent blog:
“Over the last several years, Transform has proven to be a highly efficacious product in cotton against the Tarnished Plant Bug and Cotton Aphid. It has essentially replaced 1-3 dicrotophos and acephate sprays for plant bugs in the Mississippi Delta region.
“Transform is essentially one of the two (Sivanto) only available options to control Sugarcane Aphids, a new devastating pest of grain sorghum. This will increase the likelihood of resistance to Sivanto substantially in the coming year.
“At this time, it is not clear what choices growers will have for 2016, but this decision no doubt will affect our overall IPM program for next year.”