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New natural insecticide offers environmentally-friendly choice to combat increased pest resistance

June 28, 1999

Local company wins presidential award

Washington, D.C - Dow AgroSciences, LLC of Indianapolis, Ind., received the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge award today for its development of Spinosad, a selective, natural, low-risk insecticide (registered by the EPA as a reduced risk pesticide). The awards were presented to five companies or individuals from a nationwide pool.

"Green chemistry" is chemistry designed to reduce or eliminate the use or generation of hazardous substances. Spinosad is produced by fermentation of a naturally-occurring microorganism, Saccaropolyspora spinosa, isolated from a Caribbean soil sample. Spinosad is highly selective toward chewing pests that attack cotton, trees, fruits, vegetables, turf, and ornamental plants, without harming most beneficial insects and predatory wasps. It has low toxicity and, according to Dow AgroSciences, presents little risk to the environment as it does not leach, bioaccumulate, or volatilize

"The benefits of Spinosad have been realized through the teamwork and cooperation inherent in the relationship between Eli Lilly, Dow AgroSciences and The Dow Chemical Company, " said A. Charlie Fischer, president and CEO of Dow AgroSciences. "We were able to work together to create a revolutionary insect control product that offers the environmental and human health benefits of a biological control agent with the performance of many traditional insecticides."

An independent panel of experts chose the winners as demonstrating practical as well as innovative ways to significantly reduce pollution at its sources. The panel is selected by the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society, as part of its participation in the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administers the awards. Now in its fourth year, the awards program is part of President Clinton's Reinventing Environmental Regulations Initiative to encourage public-private partners to create innovative ways to protect the environment without the need for regulatory controls. The EPA, in participation with the National Science Foundation, also funds about $7 million annually for research grants dedicated to green chemistry.

Peter D. Robertson, Acting Deputy Administrator for the U.S. EPA, presented the awards during a ceremony at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C.

A nonprofit organization with a membership of nearly 159,000 chemists and chemical engineers, the American Chemical Society publishes scientific journals and databases, convenes major research conferences, and provides educational, science policy and career programs in chemistry. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

American Chemical Society

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