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Annual Pesticide Use Report Released

Contact: Charlotte Fadipe
916-445-3974 |
May 5, 2015 (15-4)

California Used Less Fumigant and Carcinogenic Pesticides in 2013

En Español

(Sacramento) – California used less fumigants and carcinogenic pesticides in 2013 than the previous year, according to data in the Annual Summary of Pesticide Use released today by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR)

"Information is a key ingredient in a vigorous regulatory program to protect human health and the environment. The data shows California is reducing the use of some of the most toxic pesticides, but continuing to control pests that, if unchecked, would cause disease, threaten public health and affect our food supply," said DPR Director Brian Leahy. "I believe the Pesticide Use Report is the best of its kind in the world and is produced for regulators and researchers to help them understand how pesticide use impacts human health and the environment."

If misused, pesticides can be harmful. To combat the potential for harmful impacts, DPR has developed the most comprehensive and protective regulatory program in the nation to protect people and the environment.

The 2013 report shows the following reductions, compared to the previous year:

  • Use of pesticides that could contaminate ground water decreased by 246,000 pounds (23 percent).
  • Use of pesticides with the potential to pollute the air decreased by 2.4 million pounds (4.9 percent).
  • Use of fumigant pesticides decreased by 2.2 million pounds (4.9 percent).
  • Use of carcinogenic pesticides decreased by 1.7 million pounds ( 5.1 percent).

California alone produces nearly half of American grown fruits, nuts and vegetables, and depending upon pest problems, weather, acreage and other factors, the amount of pesticides use varies from year to year. Despite a reduction in the pesticide categories listed above, the total amount of pesticides used in agriculture increased by 6.4 million pounds to a total of 178 million pounds (3.7 percent).

Including other applications such as mosquito control, or pest protection in residential and commercial buildings, the overall amount of pesticides used in California in 2013 totaled 194 million pounds, an increase of 6.9 million pounds from 2012.

Certain pesticides contributed to this overall increase:

  • Use of cholinesterase inhibiting pesticides including organophosphates increased by 479,000 pounds (an increase of 5.1 percent); most of the increase was with the insecticide chlorpyrifos. (In 2014 DPR took action to limit use of chlorpyrifos in agriculture ).
  • Oil pesticides increased by 7.1 million pounds (an increase of 25 percent). Oils used here include only those derived from petroleum distillation.
  • Biopesticides increased by 653,000 pounds, (an increase in 17 percent).

More 2013 pesticide use data can be found at


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