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Pesticide Use Continues to Decline in California, New Data Confirms

In the Past 10 Years, Use of Higher-Risk Pesticides Has Markedly Declined in Both Pounds Applied and Acres Treated

Leia Bailey, Communications Director
(916) 445-3974 |
July 9, 2024

En Español

SACRAMENTO – Reported pesticide use in California declined by more than 5% between 2021 and 2022, reflecting a longer-term trend, according to the California Department of Pesticide Regulation’s most recent annual Pesticide Use Report.

In 2022, 181 million pounds of pesticide active ingredients were applied, mostly to farmland, a 10.4-million-pound decrease over 2021. Cumulative acres treated also decreased by 3.2% year over year. Acres treated totals are cumulative, meaning that if a one-acre field was treated three times in a year, the cumulative acres treated would equal three acres. Analyzing trends using multiple pesticide use metrics, including pounds applied and cumulative acres treated, can offer a more nuanced, complete understanding of pesticide use.

The state requires pesticide use reporting for all agricultural applications and some nonagricultural applications, including those in parks, managed urban landscapes, rights of ways, roadsides and structures. Consumer pesticide use is not reported.

The annual report includes a summary of pesticide use by category, based on the pesticide’s potential to cause health or environmental impacts or the type of pesticides.

The annual report includes a summary of pesticide use by category, based on the pesticide’s potential to cause health or environmental impacts or the type of pesticides

In the past 10 years, use of higher-risk pesticides has markedly declined in both pounds applied and acres treated. In terms of pounds applied, pesticide use decreased in most categories, including:

  • 77% decrease in groundwater contaminants
  • 45% decrease in reproductive toxins
  • 45% decrease in cholinesterase inhibitors
  • 21% decrease in toxic air contaminants
  • 20% decrease in carcinogens
  • 17% decrease in fumigants

Over the same period, biopesticide use has increased by 56%. Biopesticides are considered a lower-risk alternative for pest control.

View the full report.

The Pesticide Use Report includes data for California’s counties collected by county agricultural commissioners, who receive reports from growers, applicators and others. California’s comprehensive pesticide-use reporting program began in 1990.

To learn more about pesticide use and use reporting, visit DPR’s website Pesticide Use Reporting (

For more information about the state’s transition to sustainable pest management, visit DPR’s website Accelerating Sustainable Pest Management: A Roadmap for California


The California Department of Pesticide Regulation protects human health and the environment by fostering sustainable pest management and carrying out a robust regulatory program.

DPR's work includes conducting scientific evaluations of pesticides to assess and mitigate potential harm to human health or the environment prior to and following registration, registering all pesticides prior to sale or use in California, monitoring for pesticides in the air and water, and enforcing pesticide laws and regulations in coordination with 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 integrated pest management tools and practices and conducts outreach to ensure pesticide workers, farmworkers and local communities have access to pesticide safety information. More information about DPR.


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