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Department of Pesticide Regulation Proposes Restrictions in Urban Areas to Protect Water Quality

Media Contact: Lea Brooks
916-445-3974 |
October 28, 2011 (11-15)

SACRAMENTO – Businesses that provide structural pest control would be required to follow strict new controls that limit where pesticides are applied around structures to protect water quality under regulations proposed today by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR).

“Surface water monitoring data collected for the state’s regional water quality control boards and monitoring by our staff continue to show that pesticide runoff in both urban and agricultural waterways exceed levels toxic to some small aquatic organisms,” DPR Chief Deputy Director Chris Reardon said. “Most people don’t realize that pesticides used to control ants, spiders and other pests in and around homes, commercial and industrial buildings and landscapes can affect aquatic life.”

While pesticide use is closely associated with agriculture, more than half of the products regulated by DPR are for commercial, industrial and home use, Reardon explained.

The rules would restrict the use of 17 pyrethroid insecticides by businesses that apply them to homes, other structures and landscaped areas -- not pesticide use by individual consumers. In addition to decreasing the amount of insecticides used around structures, the regulations would prohibit pest control applicators and maintenance gardeners from making applications when it rains, when puddles are present and over drains and natural drainage areas.

The intent of the regulations is to reduce pesticide contamination in runoff from homes and other urban structures, driveways and landscaped areas into surface water. Pest control businesses and maintenance gardeners apply more than 70 percent of the pyrethroids targeted by the proposed regulations.

DPR has long encouraged more environmentally friendly pest prevention and control strategies through grant funding and recognition. The proposed regulations incorporate changes suggested by pest control businesses and other stakeholders during workshops and numerous discussions over the past two years.

“The proposed regulations are a cost-effective way to protect water quality,” Reardon said. “Many pest control businesses are already offering site evaluation and customized pest control rather than routine spraying of pyrethroids.”

Following adoption of the proposed regulations, DPR plans to follow up with additional restrictions on pesticide use in agricultural areas in 2013 to protect surface water from further contamination.

More information about the proposed regulations. The deadline for public comments is 5 p.m. Dec. 12. They can be submitted by e-mail to, by fax at 916-324-1452 or by mail to Linda Irokawa-Otani, Regulations Coordinator, Office of Legislation and Policy, Department of Pesticide Regulation, 1001 I St., P.O. Box 4015, Sacramento, CA 95812-4015.


One of five departments and boards within the California Environmental Protection Agency, DPR regulates the registration, sale and use of pesticides to protect people and the environment. Additional information about DPR is posted at