The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is removing a pesticide used on almonds and other crops from the market, saying it is toxic to tiny aquatic insects that form the base of the food chain.
The ruling, published in the federal Register Friday, moves closer to a ban on the product, flubendiamide. The pesticide is sold by Bayer Crop Science and Nichino America under the trade names Belt, Vetica and Tourismo.
The product was first approved for use in the US in 2008. The companies refused a request to voluntarily stop selling the product and plan to appeal. The firms also dispute the EPA’s findings.
According to an EPA study, the pesticide breaks down over time, forming a compound ten times more toxic to aquatic invertebrates than the pesticide itself.
The chemical is currently approved for use on tree nuts, apples, grapes, leafy vegetables and tobacco. Crops treated with the product may continue being sold.