WASHINGTON — Federal regulators on Tuesday ordered the makers of a widely used insecticide to take it off the market because it harms tiny aquatic animals.

The Environmental Protection Agency ordered Bayer CropScience and Nichino America to cancel production of all products containing flubendiamide. The decision comes after studies showed the insecticide harms species at the bottom of aquatic food chains in streams and ponds, impacting the fish that feed on them.

Flubendiamide is used on more than 200 crops, including soybeans, tobacco, cotton and numerous varieties of lettuce, fruits and nuts.

“EPA concluded that continued use of the product would result in unreasonable adverse effects on the environment,” the agency said in a statement issued Tuesday. “EPA had issued a time-limited registration to the companies with conditions that were understood and agreed upon. If unreasonable adverse effects on the environment were found by EPA, the companies would submit a request for voluntary cancellation of all flubendiamide registrations within one week of EPA notification.”

In January, the EPA asked the companies to voluntarily withdraw products containing the problematic insecticide. After they refused, regulators moved to cancel the government registration required to manufacture the product.

Flubendiamide is the active ingredient in Bayer’s Belt pesticide. The German chemical giant says its product is safe to use and has sought an administrative law review of the agency’s decision.

The company says the methods used by the EPA exaggerated the environmental risk.