(The following article reprinted from Florida Cooperative Extension Service "Chemically Speaking" newsletter originally appeared in EPA's, Pesticide Industry Sales and Usage: 1990 and 1991 Market Estimates, Fall 1992. If you have any questions regarding this report or need further information, please contact Arnold Aspelin, Economic Analysis Branch Chief, at 703-308-8136 or at Economic Analysis Branch, Biological Economic Analysis Division, OPP, EPA, Washington, DC 20460)
Pesticide usage in the U.S. has been relatively stable at about 1.1 billion pounds of active ingredient during recent years. The agricultural share of pesticide usage appears to have stabilized at three-fourths of the total after increasing steadily through the 1960's and 1970's, primarily due to the expanded use of herbicides in crop production. Growth in the use of pesticides has been slowed by: lower application rates due to the introduction of more potent pesticides; more efficient use of pesticides; and lower farm commodity prices.
The volume of pesticides used for nonagricultural purposes in the U.S. has been quite stable in recent years at about 275 million pounds of active ingredient. This equals about 1.1 pounds per capita in the U.S. The results of the EPA National Home and Garden Use Survey showed that 85% of all households have at least one pesticide in storage in or around the home.
The use of pesticides occurs on more than 900,000 farms and in about 69 million households. Farmers' expenditures on pesticides equal about 4.7% of total farm production expenditure. Herbicides are the leading type of pesticides, in terms of both user expenditure and volumes used. The two most widely used pesticides by volume are atrazine and alachlor.
There are 1.3 million certified applicators in the U.S. Of these, most are for agricultural applications (nearly 1 million) and the remainder are certified commercial applicators. EPA is conducting a survey of the usage of pesticides by certified/commercial application in 1993 as mandated by Congress.
This article originally appeared in the April 28, 1993 issue, p. 53.