DPR releases 1997 pesticide use data
provided by California Department of Pesticide Regulation
al/EPA's Department of Pesticide Regulation has released 1997 pesticide use statistics that show a 3.5 percent increase in pounds applied from 1996, and a slight decrease from 1995.
Reported pesticide use in California totaled 204,779,717 pounds in 1997, compared to 197,828,481 pounds in 1996 and 205,133,950 pounds in 1995. Reported use includes production agriculture and post-harvest fumigation of crops, structural pest control, landscape maintenance and other uses. Exempt from reporting requirements and therefore not included in these totals are home and garden use of pesticides, and most industrial and institutional uses.
Summaries of pesticide use in 1997 -- categorized by chemical and crop or site -- are available on DPR's website: www.cdpr.ca.gov/whatnew.htm. (The 1996 pesticide use summaries, released in May, are also available on the website.) And DPR has supplemented the use data with a new study published online: Pesticide Use Analysis and Trends from 1991 to 1996. The study examines major crops, pest problems and high-use chemicals. It also analyzes trends in pesticides where use is highest, as measured in pounds, number of applications and acres treated.
"We need to reduce the use of the high-hazard pesticides, and this kind of analysis will help us understand what factors drive their use," said DPR Director Paul E. Helliker. "We can also examine the use of reduced-risk alternatives, and the crops, regions and situations where they are used most effectively."
The analysis determined that 31 pesticides account for 85 percent of pounds used, 52 percent of all applications, and 50 percent of the acres treated in 1996. The same pesticides also accounted for most of the increased use from 1991 to 1996; only four pesticides accounted for 68 percent of all pounds applied. The study underscores the fact that one year of data does not signify a trend. Pesticide use varies from year to year, depending upon pest problems, weather, crops and other factors discussed in DPR's analysis.
Helliker noted that pounds applied is only one of several measures of pesticide use. "DPR's goal is to encourage the use of reduced-risk pest management tools -- including chemicals -- which have the least impact on the environment," he said. "Some reduced-risk chemicals are used at higher rates, so pounds applied may not provide an accurate measure of our progress."
DPR compiles yearly pesticide use reports from the most extensive database of its kind in the nation.
"The Department deferred release of the 1996 and 1997 pesticide use reports while developing software programs to provide more accurate data to the public," said Helliker. "We expect to bring the schedule of our annual pesticide use reports up to date with the release of the 1998 data in August."
Some key facts from the 1997 pesticide use reports:
Reported pesticide applications make up about 30 percent of the pesticides sold in the state each year. In 1997, there were 653.9 million pounds of pesticide active ingredients sold in California, compared to 699.6 million pounds in 1996. These sales figures include not only chemicals whose use must be reported, but also pesticides not subject to reporting requirements. This includes pesticides used in homes and gardens and in industrial and institutional settings, such as disinfectants and other antimicrobial products. Among the latter is chlorine used for municipal water treatment. Chlorine products typically account for more than a third of the pesticide active ingredients sold in California. Approximately 10,500 branded products that contained about 800 different active ingredients were registered for sale in California in 1997.
Summaries of the 1997 pesticide use data are available free online or for a nominal charge on hard copy or diskette. Two summary versions of the data (one indexed by pesticides, the other by crops) include number of applications, acreage or units treated, and pounds of pesticide used. The 300-page summaries may be ordered in hard copy ($10 each) or on diskette ($2.50). To order, send payment to: Cashier, California Department of Pesticide Regulation, 830 K Street, Sacramento 95814-3510. A complete data set of the 2.5 million-plus individual 1997 pesticide use reports is also available on CD ROM at a nominal cost. For information about the CD-ROM, call the DPR Environmental Monitoring and Pest Management Branch at 916/324-4100.
|DPR is one of six boards and departments within the California Environmental Protection Agency. DPR regulates the use of pesticides to protect human health and the environment|