New Reports Show Decrease in Pesticide Use Statewide in 2021
Secretary for Environmental Protection
Leia Bailey, Communications Director
(916) 445-3974 | Leia.Bailey@cdpr.ca.gov
SACRAMENTO – Statewide pesticide use decreased in 2021, according to reports released today by the Department of Pesticide Regulation. In 2021, the total pounds of active pesticide ingredients applied in California decreased by 11.5%, and the total area treated by pesticides decreased by 10.3%, as compared to 2020 reported use data.
Data reported to DPR for the Pesticide Use Reports (PURs) includes pesticide use on farms, parks, managed urban landscapes, rights of ways, roadsides, and structures. The department published annual PUR data reports for 2019 and 2020, and a summary of pesticide use in 2021. The department anticipates releasing the 2021 annual PUR data report in spring 2023.
To further advance its mission to protect human health and the environment, the department partnered with the California Environmental Protection Agency and California Department of Food and Agriculture to convene a work group to develop a roadmap of ambitious goals and actions to accelerate a systemwide transition to sustainable pest management and reduce the use of high-risk pesticides. The Sustainable Pest Management Roadmap was released for public comment on its implementation on Jan. 26, 2023.
2011-2021 PUR DATA TRENDS
|Category||Change in Pounds Applied||Percentage Change Pounds||Change in Acres Treated||Percentage Change Acres|
|Toxic Air Contaminants||-11,110,820||-22||-1,765,249||-49|
“Pesticide use data plays a critical role in informing actions to protect human health and the environment, both in our regulatory work and in California’s transition to safer, more sustainable pest management," said DPR Director Julie Henderson.
California has been collecting annual pesticide use data for more than 30 years. DPR evaluates pesticides for adverse impacts to human health and the environment prior to registering pesticide products for sale or use in California and continuously evaluates registered pesticides based on new information to assess risks and inform mitigation actions. DPR’s recent actions to mitigate potential health and environmental impacts of pesticide use include the following:
- Ended virtually all use of the pesticide chlorpyrifos at the end of 2020, following mounting evidence that chlorpyrifos is associated with impaired brain and neurological development in children and other sensitive populations.
- Prohibited consumer use of products containing carbaryl in 2020, after the department’s pesticide-illness data showed the majority of illnesses related to the pesticide were the result of misuse around the home.
- Proposed more health-protective restrictions on 1,3-dichloropropene (1,3-D) in 2022 to significantly reduce potential exposure to cancer and acute health effects.
- Proposed restrictions on the use of neonicotinoids in 2022 to protect pollinators.
Pesticide use is dependent on many factors that can vary unpredictably from year to year, including pest outbreaks, the practice of Integrated Pest Management, crop value, weather, water availability, labor costs, pesticide resistance and effectiveness, and other factors. Given this year-over-year variability, a longer-term view of PUR data can provide greater insight into overall use trends. Since 2012, the total volume of low-toxicity pesticides applied increased, while use of all other pesticide categories decreased.
DPR publishes annual reports and additionally offers a searchable, online database that provides pesticide use by geographical region, crop, and pesticide active ingredient and category.
For more information on the pesticide use reporting data, see:
- DPR’s 2019 PUR executive summary and the full report, PDF.
- DPR's 2020 PUR executive summary and the full report, PDF.
- DPR's 2021 PUR executive summary.
ABOUT THE DEPARTMENT OF PESTICIDE REGULATION
The California Department of Pesticide Regulation protects human health and the environment by fostering safer and sustainable pest management practices, and by operating a robust regulatory system. The department evaluates and registers pesticides and monitors, regulates and oversees enforcement of their sale and use in California.
DPR’s work includes conducting scientific evaluations of pesticides to assess and mitigate potential harm to human health and the environment. These evaluations are conducted prior to and following registration. Pesticides must be registered before they can be sold or used in California. DPR also monitors air and water for the presence of pesticides and enforces pesticide laws and regulations in coordination with the 55 County Agricultural Commissioners and their combined 500 field inspectors across the state’s 58 counties. DPR invests in innovative research, outreach, and education to encourage the development and adoption of safer, integrated pest management tools and practices. DPR conducts outreach to ensure pesticide workers, farmworkers and local communities have access to pesticide safety information.