CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Bayer CropScience said it is evaluating the impact the phase-out of the insecticide-nematicide aldicarb will have on employment at its Institute site, where it makes aldicarb.
The company has signed a memorandum of agreement with the federal Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, to phase out the use of aldicarb.
Aldicarb is the active ingredient in Bayer CropScience's Temik-brand insecticide-nematicide. Farmers use Temik on more than 20 crops, including cotton, to increase their yield. It is registered in more than 50 countries. Temik is Bayer CropScience's largest product. Aldicarb is a carbamate pesticide, which means it is derived from carbamic acid.
About 700 people work at the Institute Industrial Park. Approximately 520 are Bayer CropScience employees.
When asked on Tuesday how many Bayer CropScience employees at Institute may be impacted by the phase-out of aldicarb, company spokesman Tom Dover said, "Our carbamate production is a fully integrated activity. We will be evaluating the impact of this decision and will know more in coming weeks.
"There are many variables that need to be considered, including volume impacts in the U.S. and overseas," Dover said. "Our ultimate goal for the Institute Industrial Park remains the same - to keep our existing tenant base and encourage new business development to sustain a viable operating facility."
Bayer CropScience said that according to its agreement with the EPA, "farmers may continue to use existing stocks of Temik on citrus and potatoes until Dec. 31, 2011, allowing inventories to clear the channel of trade. Uses on all other crops will be maintained with some additional label changes, until an orderly product phase-out is completed. . ."
The company said it plans to discontinue marketing aldicarb in the United States and other markets worldwide by 2014.
"This decision follows a new dietary risk assessment process recently completed by the agency," Bayer CropScience said. "Although the company does not fully agree with this new risk assessment approach, Bayer CropScience respects the oversight authority of the EPA and is cooperating with them. This decision does not mean that aldicarb poses a food safety concern."
However, the EPA issued a press release Tuesday that said its new risk assessment, based on recently submitted toxicity data, "indicates that aldicarb. . .no longer meets the agency's rigorous food safety standards and may pose unacceptable dietary risks, especially to infants and young children."
The EPA said Bayer "has agreed first to end aldicarb use on citrus and potatoes and will adopt risk mitigation measures for other uses to protect groundwater resources. New measures to protect shallow drinking water wells in vulnerable areas of the southeastern U.S. coastal plain and lower application rates will be immediately added to product labels for use on cotton, soybeans and peanuts."