Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, April 15, 2016

Contact: Stephanie Parent, (971) 717-6404,

Court Filing Supports EPA Decision to Cancel Pesticide Toxic to
Dragonflies, Crayfish, Other Freshwater Species

WASHINGTON— The Center for Biological Diversity submitted a friend of the court brief today supporting the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to cancel use of a pesticide that’s highly toxic to freshwater wildlife like dragonflies, crayfish and mussels.

Hine's emerald dragonfly
Hine's emerald dragonfly photo by P. Burton, USFWS. This photo is available for media use.

The EPA had given Bayer CropScience temporary approval to sell flubendiamide, an insecticide designed to kill caterpillars, while more studies on it were done; after eight years those studies recently confirmed that flubendiamide is too toxic for wildlife to keep it on the market. Bayer is fighting the agency so it can keep selling this toxic pesticide. The issue is now before an administrative law judge at the EPA.

“It’s painfully obvious that this insecticide does real harm to freshwater wildlife and has no business being used,” said Stephanie Parent, a senior attorney at the Center. “Unfortunately Bayer refused to voluntarily cancel the conditional registration of this pesticide, so it’s now up to the EPA to make it happen. The EPA should never have allowed the use of this poison in the first place, but they’re doing the right thing now, and we’re backing them up.”

The EPA knew back in 2008 that flubendiamide is highly toxic to aquatic invertebrates and accumulates in the environment with each application. Nonetheless it granted Bayer a time-limited, conditional registration while Bayer conducted additional studies. The EPA gave its approval on the condition that studies showed the harm to wildlife could be mitigated, and that Bayer immediately voluntarily cancel if they did not. After the studies confirmed unacceptable levels of harm, the EPA requested voluntary cancellation. Bayer refused and is now fighting the EPA’s decision.

“Cancellation of flubendiamide can’t come soon enough,” said Parent. “Aquatic invertebrates are among our most important and most imperiled wildlife. Harming species like dragonflies, crayfish and mussels has cascading effects on the entire web of life, and this pesticide poses unacceptable risks to these remarkable endangered freshwater creatures.”

The EPA concluded that “significant effects to aquatic organisms due to the use of flubendiamide could potentially occur in as little as 2 years.” Stream- and river-monitoring data indicate widespread occurrence of flubendiamide and its degradate (des-iodo) and widespread potential for water-quality impacts.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with 990,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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