Agricultural pesticide use in California declined 1.9 percent in 2017 — or about 3.7 million pounds — according to the California Department of Pesticide Regulation.
In its report for 2017, CDPR said the decrease included big drops in the most hazardous chemicals, including a decrease in the use of pesticides classified as carcinogens from 44.2 million pounds in 2016 to 41.7 million pounds in 2017.
Pesticides considered toxic air contaminants (TACs) also fell, from 45.9 million pounds in 2016 to 43 million pounds, a 6.4 percent decline. CDPR said usage of the insecticide chlorpyrifos went up 5 percent in 2017, to 946,000 pounds. The state, however, has announced plans to cancel use of the chemical because it is considered a TAC.
“The use of pesticides with the potential to contaminate ground water decreased by 25.3 percent to 0.4 million pounds, compared to 0.5 million pounds in 2016,” CDPR said, while the use of biopesticides, “which have been identified as likely to be low risk to human health and the environment, increased to approximately 8.1 million pounds,” a 5.5 percent increase from 7.7 million pounds used in 2016.
“This report demonstrates that California’s farmers continue to lead the way when it comes to using more sustainable pest management tools and techniques,” said Val Dolcini, Acting Director of DPR. “DPR looks forward to continuing its collaboration with growers, community groups and other interested citizens to ensure that these pesticides are used in the safest manner possible.”
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