EPA Updates Federal Register on Neonics: A Win for Growers and Sound Science
You may have seen news articles announcing the EPA has finalized the voluntary cancellation of some neonicotinoid (neonic) product registrations. In the interest of clarity, it’s important to know the facts about this very positive development for sound science, the people who grow our food, and our regulatory system. The cancellations are part of a voluntary settlement to a lawsuit filed in 2013 by several activist groups challenging the EPA’s approval process concerning certain registered neonic products. It was that process, rather than the safety of these products, that was ultimately at issue in this case. In fact, the court found that there was no evidence that these products present an “imminent hazard” to endangered species – which had been the original focus of the lawsuit. Though not defendants, Bayer and several other companies intervened in that lawsuit in defense of the critical tools involved.
After court-ordered settlement talks, last year all parties reached an agreement whereby Bayer and several other companies agreed to the cancellation of a total of 12 minor registrations, all of which have little or no commercial significance. For its part, Bayer agreed to cancel two registrations, neither of which is sold in the United States, while maintaining all of the registered products currently used by growers. For its part, EPA agreed to address its own process issues by 2022. Above all, the agreement is a big win for growers, sound science and our regulatory system and ensures farmers can continue to use these critical pest management tools.
It’s important to remember that neonic technologies are among the most highly regulated products in commercial use, and have been shown by years of scientific review to be safe when used according to label instructions. I know the news cycle moves quickly, but I also think it’s important that the facts – about neonics and about this particular agreement – aren’t lost in the process.