EPA regional administrator: Sulfoxiflor safer than alternatives

A regional administrator of the U.S. EPA says the insecticide for which the agency expanded registered uses is safer for pollinators than other compounds. Sulfoxaflor is less persistent in the environment and doesn’t last in pollen or in plant nectar, according to Jim Gulliford at EPA’s Region 7 headquarters in Kansas City.

“So it has much less impact on pollinators,” Gulliford told Brownfield Ag News, “and it’s a safer pesticide for all of the approved uses compared to neonics [neonicotinoids].”

The EPA registration now includes, among other crops, alfalfa, corn and soybeans. Gulliford says EPA’s decision is based on scientific data that addresses the product’s efficacy and safety.

“We want to make sure that it achieves its intended use as a crop protection product,” said Gulliford, “but at the same time it protects human health, the environment and all types of, in this case, pollinators.”

Environmental groups including Earthjustice and the Center for Biological Diversity have criticized the EPA for expanding sulfoxaflor uses, but the EPA says it’s a lower risk than alternatives.  Sulfoxaflor, the active ingredient in Transform WG and Closer SC, is made by Dow AgroSciences.

AUDIO: Jim Gulliford
  • As a former Pesticide Program staffer, I appreciate that EPA is looking into the use of safer pesticides. Is sulfoxaflor available for home garden use? I rarely use pesticides as I don’t want to hurt the hummingbirds, bees, etc., but we’ve been it with the dreaded Japanese beetle influx that’s destroyed most of our ornamentals for the past 2 years and now eating up herbs as well.

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