The agricultural unit of German chemicals company Bayer AG will halt future U.S. sales of an insecticide that can be used on more than 200 crops after losing a fight with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the company said on Friday.

Bayer lost an attempt to continue sales of flubendiamide, marketed in the United States as Belt, after the EPA earlier found that it posed risks to the environment. [nL2N16912L]

An EPA board, however, ruled that farmers and retailers will be allowed to use their existing supplies of the chemical, Bayer said in a statement.

Dana Sargent, Bayer's vice president of regulatory affairs, said the product was safe.

"Bayer maintains the EPA's actions on flubendiamide are unlawful and inconsistent with sound regulatory risk assessment practices," she said in a statement.

The EPA could not be reached for comment after normal business hours.

Flubendiamide is the active ingredient in Bayer's Belt and Nichino America's Tourismo and Vetica insecticides. It is registered for use on crops, including soybeans, almonds and tobacco, with some crops having as many as six applications per year, according to the EPA. [nL2N15K1T0]

Nichino America could not immediately be reached for comment.

 

(Reporting by Tom Polansek, editing by G Crosse, Leslie Adler)