In response to a lawsuit filed by the Center for Food Safety and Center for Biological Diversity, chemical giant BASF has agreed to stop the manufacture and sale of the pesticide trifludimoxazin, according to court filings on Tuesday.
BASF’s decision to pull the pesticide from the market directly follows the conservation groups’ December 2021 filings seeking to have the federal court overturn the Environmental Protection Agency’s registration of the dangerous pesticide and immediately remove it from the market. The agency failed to assess the herbicide’s risk to protected plants and animals. That’s something that the Endangered Species Act requires, according to the lawsuit.
“Trifludimoxazin should never have been approved to begin with,” said George Kimbrell, CFS legal director, and counsel in the case.
The EPA approved trifludimoxazin last year for nationwide use on corn, soy, and many other fruit, nut, and vegetable crops. The agency’s own analysis found that the chemical “will likely cause severe harm.” That’s to many threatened and endangered fish. Also Including endangered populations of Chinook salmon and steelhead trout, Atlantic sturgeon and smalltooth sawfish.
The EPA Knew About the Effects of trifludimoxazin
“The EPA knows full well it should not have ever approved this dangerous pesticide without first putting common-sense measures in place to protect endangered fish and other species,” said Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “It’s time for the chemical industry and the EPA to stop blatantly ignoring their responsibilities to make sure pesticides aren’t pushing our most endangered plants and animals closer to extinction.”
Following on the heels of a string of litigation losses, earlier this year the EPA announced that it will no longer approve new pesticides without first making sure measures are in place to protect endangered species.
Last year the EPA gave the green light for the use of this pesticide on millions of U.S. acres. That was knowing the spray drift and runoff of trifludimoxazin are likely to cause damage to wild plants and animals.
The EPA’s own analysis found that the pesticide is highly toxic to aquatic and terrestrial plants. In addition, it’s likely to drift and damage plants more than 1,000 feet from a field’s edge.
In addition to impacts to endangered species, trifludimoxazin risks damage to nontarget crops. It is roughly 10 times more potent on soybeans than dicamba. That’s a herbicide whose drift and runoff have caused unprecedented damage across many millions of acres of soybeans. Faced with a challenge filed by the same conservation groups, a court vacated approval of dicamba products last year, although EPA has subsequently reapproved them, despite drift harm continuing.
The petitioners in the case are represented by counsel from the Center for Food Safety.