A U.S. appeals court ruled that federal regulators erred in allowing a Dow AgroSciences insecticide onto the market.

The ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, cancels the insecticide’s approval and is significant for commercial beekeepers and others who say a dramatic decline in bee colonies is tied to widespread use of neonicotinoids.

The lawsuit was filed in 2013 against the EPA by organizations representing the honey and honeybee-keeping industry and specifically challenged the approval of insecticides containing sulfoxaflor, saying studies have shown they are highly toxic to honeybees. The court’s ruling said that sulfoxaflor is a neonicotinoid subclass.

Dow AgroSciences, a unit of Dow Chemical Co., first sought EPA approval for sulfoxaflor in 2010 for use in three products. Dow said in a statement that it “respectfully disagrees” with ruling and will “work with EPA to implement the order and to promptly complete additional regulatory work to support the registration of the products.”

The EPA said it was reviewing the court’s decision and would have no further comment.


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