The Environmental Protection Agency has approved the insecticide called ‘sulfoxaflor’ for use on corn, cotton, sorghum and citrus, as well as other crops. The agency has stated it had concluded the chemical posed no significant risk to bees and that alternatives to the chemical are worse for the environment.
In addition to the aforementioned crops, the decision will allow sulfoxaflor (trade names: Closer, Transform) to be used on alfalfa, cacao, grains (millet, oats), pineapple, teff, teosinte, tree plantations, cucurbits (squash, cucumbers, watermelons, some gourds), soybeans, and strawberries.
“Sulfoxaflor is an important and highly effective tool for growers,” Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, said. “It targets difficult pests such as sugarcane aphids and tarnished plant bugs, also known as lygus. These pests can cause severe economic loss.”
The decision prompted a quick response from the Center for Biological Diversity, which has criticized EPA for allowing use of sulfoxaflor repeatedly over the past few years by granting exemptions under Section 18 of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).