State Implementation Plan for Agricultural and Commercial Structural Pesticides

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This plan is designed to reduce volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from agricultural and commercial structural pesticide applications by a maximum of 20 percent from the 1990 baseline emission inventory to the year 2005. The reduction in pesticidal VOC emission will occur on a linear basis extrapolated from the 1990 baseline emission inventory. The plan will be implemented only in counties located in air districts which have formally adopted a State Implementation Plan which reference VOC reductions from this plan. The plan offers the flexibility to achieve reductions of less than 20 percent by the year 2005 in air districts if less pesticidal VOC emission reductions are needed.

The critical aspects of the plan are in effect and enforceable where applicable. These aspects include the implementation of the pesticide product reevaluation process, the collection of pesticide use reports, consultation with advisory groups, and promotion of integrated pest management programs. In the event that additional regulatory measures are necessary to achieve targeted VOC reductions from agricultural and commercial structural pesticide use, in accordance with the Department of Pesticide Regulation’s (DPR) California Environmental Quality Act functional equivalency regulatory program, potential environmental impacts will be considered along with reasonable mitigation measures and reasonable alternatives that would minimize or reduce any identified significant adverse environmental impact that reasonably could be expected to occur as a result of the regulations.

The basis for this plan is the concern about the release into the atmosphere of VOCs from the use of pesticide products. The use of pesticides may contribute to tropospheric ozone formation which is harmful to both human health and vegetation. "Pesticide application" has been identified as a source of reactive organic compounds (ROG) in many California air districts. ROGs are precursors to ozone formation. Based on the 1989 Emission Inventory, pesticides are estimated to account for from 0.3 to 32.1 percent of total ROGs in 41 counties in California. These 41 counties are contained in nine California air districts.

Currently, there are no data on the ROG content (also referred to as the volatile organic compound, or VOC content) of pesticides formulated for agricultural or commercial structural use in California.

The initial step of the plan establishes a method to accurately determine the VOC content of pesticide products and to calculate pesticidal VOC emissions. This plan will refer to the VOC content of a pesticide as a VOC Emission Factor. Pesticide product registrants are required to determine the VOC Emission Factors of their products either by analyzing products using the thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) method or by assuming all ingredients in the product except water are VOCs. The VOC Emission Factor will allow an accurate method to calculate pesticidal VOC emissions.

California is fortunate to have a reporting system for pesticide use which, in conjunction with the VOC emission factor, allows for an accurate determination of pesticidal VOC emissions. To determine the actual VOC contribution of individual agricultural and structural use pesticides, the VOC Emission Factor of each formulated product will be multiplied by the amount of that product used in a given time period. The Pesticide Use Report will be used as the reference for the amount of pesticide use. Additional VOC Emission Factors may be used to calculate relative emissions provided adequate data are provided. For example, data documenting that a change in a specific application technique of a specific pesticide from 1990 lowers emission could be a supplemental VOC Emission Factor.

In cooperation with DPR, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) will develop a baseline inventory of estimated 1990 pesticidal VOC emissions based on 1991 pesticide use data, adjusted to represent the 1990 base year, and on the VOC emission potential data. This baseline inventory may be adjusted if empirical data are developed to determine the impact of temperature, treated substrate (foliage, soil, water, etc.), application technique, and other conditions on VOC emissions.

The plan will reduce pesticidal VOC emissions in a way that minimizes disruption of pest management of agricultural and structural pests. The focus of the plan will be to utilize actual pesticide VOC emission data to guide changes in pest management practices to achieve VOC reductions while recognizing the need for pest management. The plan will account for pesticidal VOC emission reductions through lower VOC Emission Factors (e.g., reformulation of pesticide products, alternative technologies that reduce emissions) and changes in pesticide use practices (e.g., increased adoption of integrated pest management techniques, use of lower VOC-containing products).

The VOC Emission Factor data and the pesticidal VOC emission inventories will provide the basis to determine whether the 20 percent reduction goal is achievable, realistic, and justifiable. The data and inventories will provide the basis to determine what additional regulatory measures are needed to achieve targeted pesticidal VOC reductions.


The purpose of this plan is to reduce agricultural and commercial structural use sources of pesticidal VOCs. It is not intended to apply to pesticides that are subject to consumer products’ regulations in Title 17 of the California Code of Regulations (17 CCR), sections 94507-94517. This plan is also not intended to apply to pesticides intended for use outside of California.

  1. Reevaluation of Pesticide Products
    1. VOC Emission Factor

      The first step of the plan involves determining the amount of VOC in each pesticide product. The amount of VOC in a pesticide is referred to as the VOC Emission Factor. Authority exists for the collection of VOC Emission Factors through the reevaluation process. The reevaluation of agricultural and structural pesticides requires registrants of these products to submit data on the VOC Emission Factor of their products. The reevaluation of agricultural and commercial structural pesticides began in April 1994 and will be completed by December 1995.

      The VOC Emission Factor of each product is determined either by conducting a specified analytical method or by assuming all ingredients in the formulation except water (water subtraction method) are VOCs. All registrants of agricultural and commercial structural use pesticides are required to submit VOC Emission Factor data for their product pursuant to a reevaluation procedure. The requirements of the reevaluation are described in an April 29, 1994, letter from DPR to registrants as amended by a June 9, 1994, addendum to the April 29, 1994, letter from DPR to registrants. The analytical method is the TGA method which is described in the protocol entitled, "Estimation of Volatile Emission Potential of Liquid Pesticides by Thermogravimetry." The data and information which must be submitted from the TGA study is listed on the "VOC Data Submission For." This method was chosen after conducting workshops and consultation with analytical laboratories and the ARB. The method provides an accurate and cost-effective means of determining volatility. In addition to the data and information on the VOC Data Submission Form, registrants are also required to submit an accurate statement of formula for each product included in the reevaluation.

      The VOC Emission Factor of each product determined by the TGA method will be corrected for the water content of the product and the percentages of any exempt compounds. The exempt compounds are the same as those listed in the proposed federal implementation plan published in the Federal Register on May 5, 1994. The VOC Emission Factor of each product determined by the TGA method will also be corrected for the water content or any exempt chemicals present in any trade name inert ingredient in the primary pesticide product if DPR receives a statement of formula for the trade name inert ingredient. In addition, the VOC Emission Factor of each product determined by the water subtraction method will also be corrected for the water content present in any trade name inert ingredient in the primary product if DPR receives a statement of formula for the trade name inert ingredient.

      If the trade name inert ingredient is purchased from another party, the other party may submit the statement of formula for that trade name inert ingredient directly to DPR along with a reference that the data are being submitted pursuant to the reevaluation of the primary pesticide product.

      If the required data and statement of formula for a product under reevaluation are not received, the data package will be considered incomplete and the product will be given the highest VOC Emission Factor for the pesticide product.

    2. State Authority

      3 CCR section 6220 provides that the Director may, at any time, evaluate a registered economic poison to carry out the provisions of sections 12824, 12825, 12825.5, 12826, and 12827 of the Food and Agricultural Code. Section 12824 requires the Director to endeavor to eliminate from use in the State any economic poison which endangers the agricultural or nonagricultural environment, and gives the Director authority to establish specific criteria to evaluate an economic poison with regard to the factors listed in section 12825. Section 12825 lists the factors the Director may consider in canceling or refusing to register a pesticide. Among these factors are (1) the economic poison has demonstrated serious uncontrollable adverse effects either within or outside the agricultural environment; and (2) when properly used, the economic poison is detrimental to vegetation except weeds, to domestic animals, or to the public health and safety. 3 CCR section 6221 was adopted to establish the criteria the Director may use to reevaluate pesticides. Included in these criteria are (1) public and worker health hazards, (2) environmental contamination, and (3) other information suggesting a significant adverse risk.

      3 CCR section 6224 requires the Director to determine during reevaluation whether additional restrictions on use are necessary or if actions such as suspension of use or cancellation of use are necessary.

  2. Establishing the 1990 Base Year Inventory and Tracking

    The base year inventory will be created from the 1991 Pesticide Use Report and then adjusted by a factor to represent the 1990 base year. Under the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, the baseline inventory must be based on 1990 emissions. The Clean Air Act allows the use of other data if the data provide a more accurate basis to determine 1990 emissions. Full pesticide use reporting began in 1990. It is believed that the 1991 pesticide use report would be a more accurate source to determine 1990 pesticidal VOC emissions.

    The baseline inventory will be calculated by summing the estimated 1990 emissions of each agricultural and commercial structural use pesticide. Emissions will be calculated by multiplying the VOC Emission Factor value for each product by the adjusted use of that product in 1990. Emissions from products used in 1990 but with no reported use in 1991 will be estimated based on best available information. For products used in 1990 or 1991 that are no longer registered for use and thus not subject to the VOC data submission requirement, DPR will estimate a VOC Emission Factor value based on results of similar formulations or best available information.

    The same methodology will be used to determine pesticidal VOC emissions for subsequent years. By January 1996, data will be available to determine pesticidal VOC emissions for four years--1990 (adjusted) to 1993.

    The 1990 baseline year and subsequent year estimates may be further adjusted by additional VOC Emission Factors if additional information becomes available regarding the reactivity of compounds, the impact of temperature, moisture, deposition substrate, method of application, and other factors. Any additional VOC Emission Factor(s) will be pesticide product specific.

  3. Reducing Pesticide VOC Emissions

    The goal of the DPR program is to reduce VOC emissions from the agricultural and structural use of pesticides by a maximum of 20 percent from 1990 to 2005 in air districts which have formally adopted a State Implementation Plan. A number of the critical aspects to achieve VOC emission reductions from the use of pesticides are in effect and enforceable. Subsequent program implementation will be based on an evaluation conducted in 1995 of the pesticidal VOC emission information and VOC Emission Factors.

    1. Evaluation of Data

      In 1996, the 1990 Baseline Emission Inventory and subsequent annual emission inventories will be analyzed to quantify the contribution of pesticides to VOC emissions and to create detailed pesticidal VOC emission inventories over time (monthly or annually) in counties or portions of counties in each air district subject to this plan. Additionally, VOC emissions data can be evaluated in relation to cropping pattern or key pest. The VOC Emission Factors will be reviewed in relation to the emission inventories. These lists will be used as a guide to identify pesticidal VOC reduction opportunities and as a basis for any additional regulatory measures.

    2. Program Implementation

      The initial reductions in pesticidal VOC emissions will be gained from changes in pest management practices. Most of the changes will occur in the private sector in response to the information generated from this plan. Extensive consultation will be made with county agricultural commissioners (CAC), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA), and established advisory committees (Pesticide Advisory Committee, Pesticide Registration and Evaluation Committee, Pest Management Advisory Committee). The reduction in pesticidal VOC reductions will occur through:

      1.  Switching use to lower VOC-containing pesticides. The list of pesticide products and their VOC Emission Factor(s) will be distributed to CACs, commodity groups, University of California, pest control advisors, growers, pesticide registrants, and the Western Crop Protection Association. A concerted effort will be made to facilitate the use of lower VOC-containing pesticides.

      2.  Increased adoption of integrated pest management practices which can include certain reductions in the amount of pesticides used. An ongoing effort in pest management has been to use the least amount of pesticide while maintaining control. Timing of pesticides to increase efficacy may also reduce additional applications.

      3.  Generic strategies to reduce pesticidal VOC emissions will be promoted. DPR will identify by crop pesticidal VOC reduction activities that have occurred since 1990. Reduction techniques will be publicized to CACs, pest control advisors, growers, and commodity groups to encourage continued and additional reductions.

      4.  For crops having pest management practices that result in high pesticidal VOC emissions, DPR will identify and encourage substitution of viable alternative pesticides that reduce VOC emissions and identify strategies in concert with commodity groups and others (e.g., Pest Management Advisory Committee) to increase adoption of Integrated Pest Management programs.

      5.  Registration and Promotion of Lower VOC-Containing Pesticides

      A major avenue to achieve pesticidal VOC reductions will result from the availability of low VOC-containing pesticide products. Lower VOC-containing pesticide products can come from either reformulated pesticides or from new pesticide products which are alternatives. Mechanisms to ensure that the registration process at the federal and State level does not slow introduction of these products to the marketplace while protecting public health and the environment will be investigated.

      6.  Encourage development, documentation, and adoption of new technologies (e.g., application methods, application equipment, capture systems) that reduce VOC emissions. Adoption of validated technologies that reduce VOC emissions could result in additional VOC Emission Factor(s) being used in calculating pesticidal VOC emissions.

    3. Development of Additional Regulatory Measures

      A decision will be made by 1996 about whether additional regulatory measures are needed to ensure that reductions in pesticidal VOC emissions are achieved. If necessary, an enforceable program to achieve the goals of the plan will be adopted by June 15, 1997. Additional regulatory measures will be adopted if it is determined that the existing program elements are not sufficient to achieve the established VOC reductions and that additional VOC reductions from the use of pesticides are feasible. The exact structure of the additional regulatory measures will be based on the evaluation of VOC Emission Factors and emission data. However, such regulations would encompass the following points:

      1.  The regulatory provisions would only be applicable in counties located in air districts that adopted a State Implementation Plan which reference VOC reductions from this plan.

      2.  Pesticide VOC emission inventories will be tracked utilizing the established methodology.

      3.  The pesticidal VOC emissions will be tracked on a county-by-county basis within a regulated air district.

      4.  Pesticidal VOC emissions resulting from control efforts for significant new pest infestations would be exempt from trend line analyses.

      5.  Adequate time would be given for existing program efforts to take effect before regulatory measures are implemented.

      6.  Clearly established pesticidal VOC reduction target levels will be established for the air district. The currently established target level is extrapolated on a linear basis from 1990 to 2005 to achieve a 20 percent reduction. After evaluation of pesticide VOC emission inventory data, the percent reduction goal may change.

      7.  Regulatory measures, if necessary, would automatically go into effect if established pesticidal VOC reduction target levels are not achieved.

      8.  A tiered set of restrictions, increasing in severity, will be imposed in relation to target reduction levels.

      9.  Pesticides which result in the highest pesticidal VOC emissions in that air district or county will be targeted for restriction.

      10.  Restrictions on pesticide use will take into account the availability of alternatives that will result in less VOC emission, and whether the pesticide is part of a reduced-risk practice.

      11.  Pesticide products that have been reformulated to a lower VOC content will be exempt from prohibitions.

  4. Summary of Plan

    April 1994:

    • Initiate a reevaluation of pesticide products to collect the percent VOC content (VOC Emission Factor).

    May 1995:

    • Establish procedures to ensure timely registration of pesticides with low VOC content, in consultation with U.S. EPA and the Pesticide Registration and Evaluation Committee.

    December 1995:

    • Complete reevaluation.

    January 1996:

    • Prepare and distribute the list of pesticide products and their VOC Emission Factors.
    • Complete and distribute Pesticide Emission Inventories (1990 to 1993) for air districts subject to this plan.
    • Analyze VOC Emission Factors and pesticide emission inventories to determine whether the 20 percent reduction goal is valid. Revisions to this plan may need to be made based on the analysis.

    March 1996:

    • Distribute analysis of pesticidal VOC reduction successes. Voluntary strategies to increase pesticidal VOC reductions will be developed in conjunction with various groups (Pest Management Advisory Committee and Pesticide Advisory Committee).

    November 1996 :

    • Evaluation of the pesticidal VOC emission inventories (1990 to 1995) will be made to determine the feasibility of achieving the target reduction goal. Alternatives’ analysis will provide the basis as to whether additional pesticidal VOC reductions are feasible. A decision to develop regulatory measures will be made at this time.

    June 1997:

    • Implementation of regulatory measures, if necessary, will take place to ensure that targeted pesticidal VOC reductions will occur.

Updates to the 1994 SIP

For content questions, contact:
Edgar Vidrio
1001 I Street, P.O. Box 4015
Sacramento, CA 95812-4015
Phone: (916) 323-2778