In recent years, a pesticide called flubendiamide has been used on about 14 percent of the nation’s almonds, peppers and watermelons. Now the FDA wants to revoke the chemical’s conditional approval.
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Chances are, you’ve never heard of flubendiamide. It’s not among the most toxic insecticides, and it’s not among the widely used chemicals, either. In recent years, it has been used on about a quarter of the nation’s tobacco and 14 percent of almonds, peppers and watermelons.
But flubendiamide is now at the center of a public dispute between the Environmental Protection Agency and the company that sells it, Bayer CropScience. That dispute is arousing fear in the pesticide industry — and hope among activists who are pushing for the EPA to regulate pesticides more tightly.