Following through on a court ruling, the EPA has issued a final cancellation order for sulfoxaflor, a widely used pesticide active ingredient manufactured by Dow AgroSciences and registered by the EPA in May 2013.
In September 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit said EPA’s decision to register sulfoxaflor was not based on sufficient data on how the substance affected honey bees and other pollinators. The court vacated sulfoxaflor’s federal registration and remanded the matter to the EPA with instructions to obtain further studies on how sulfoxaflor impacts pollinators. The cancellation order spells out specific conditions regarding distribution and sale of existing stocks of seven sulfoxaflor products and requirements regarding stocks now in the hands of end users.
In the cancellation order, the EPA notes that while the 9th Circuit determined that, absent better data, the registration of sulfoxaflor should not continue, the court did not address the issue of what should be done with existing stocks of the substance. Once a registration is terminated, it is illegal to sell or even transport existing stocks unless done so according to specific EPA instructions. In addition—and again unless the EPA issues corrective orders—cancellation of a pesticide has the perverse effect of negating the requirement that users apply the now unregistered product according to the previously approved labeling.