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Publication #PI-141

Pesticide Use Trends in the United States: Pesticides for Industrial/Commercial/Governmental Uses1

Frederick M. Fishel2

Introduction

The EPA, in cooperation with the USDA and FDA, is responsible for regulating the production and use of pesticides in the U.S. This document is one of a series that provides data on volumes used and sales of pesticides from the most up-to-date EPA survey available, 2006–2007. This document focuses on pesticides used by the industrial/commercial/governmental market sector. The intent of this information is only to present an objective profile and does not attempt to interpret, reach conclusions about, or make inferences regarding the data. Conclusions should not be drawn in regards to impacts on human health, the environment, or the economy.

Data Sources

The data reported in this document are based upon EPA estimates. EPA does not have a program devoted specifically to estimating pesticide use; rather, they use the best available information from the public domain and proprietary sources. The data are approximate values and not statistically precise. The sources that EPA consults for compiling this information include the following:

  • The Pesticide Data Center in the Biological and Economic Analysis Division of EPA's Office of Pesticide Programs;

  • Several national database services for compiling agricultural pesticide use data, including the USDA; and

  • Others from private pesticide marketing research companies.

Explanation of Data Components

The broad industrial/commercial/governmental use category includes pesticides applied to homes, lawns, and gardens by professional applicators. The expenditure data presented in Table 1 separate broad classes of pesticides—herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, and other pesticides. The "herbicide" data combine plant growth regulators (PGR) with them, while "fungicides" and "insecticides" exclude sulfur and petroleum oil. Data summarized for "other" pesticides combine the total for rodenticides, molluscicides, nematicides, fumigants, aquatic, pesticides for the control of birds and fish, and other miscellaneous pesticides. Sulfur and petroleum oil are included in the "other" category as well. The use data shown in Table 2 are presented similarly, except that nematicides and fumigants are presented as a separate category. The EPA survey use data exclude wood preservatives, sulfur, petroleum oil, specialty biocides, chlorine/hypochlorites, and other chemicals used as pesticides. In reporting the amount used, data are presented as pounds of active ingredient (a.i.). Totals may not add precisely due to rounding.

U.S. Industrial/Commercial/Governmental Pesticide Expenditures

Total expenditures for industrial/commercial/governmental pesticide use as a whole were similar each year (Table 1). The U.S. industrial/commercial/governmental pesticide expenditures were approximately $2 billion averaged during 2006 and 2007. Expenditures on herbicides/plant growth regulators accounted for the largest portion of total expenditures, nearly 50% both years, followed by expenditures on insecticides and miticides, fungicides, and other pesticides, respectively. There was little change in relative quantities of pesticide expenditures for each class of pesticide between years.

U.S. Industrial/Commercial/Governmental Pesticide Amount Used

The U.S. industrial/commercial/governmental pesticide amount used in both 2006 and 2007 was more than 100 million pounds averaged during the two years (Table 2). The largest portion of total U.S. industrial/commercial/governmental pesticides used each year was herbicides, followed by nematicides and fumigants, fungicides, insecticides and miticides, and other pesticides. Total volume of industrial/commercial/governmental pesticides, and the relative percentages of use by class, was similar each year.

Most Commonly Used Conventional Industrial/Commercial/Governmental Pesticide Active Ingredients

Table 3 shows the 10 most commonly used conventional industrial/commercial/governmental pesticide active ingredients in 2007 compared with 2003 and 2001. 2,4-D was the most-used active ingredient across years, totaling between 16–22 million pounds. The active ingredient, glyphosate, was second in use rankings, also consistent across years. Of the top 10 active ingredients, six were herbicides; two were fungicides; and two were insecticides. Because some applicators in this sector may also apply pesticides in the home and garden sector, there may be some usage reported in one market that may have occurred in the other.

Additional information

Grube, A., T. Kiely, D. Donaldson, and L. Wu. 2011. Pesticide Industry Sales and Usage: 2006 and 2007 Market Estimates. EPA's Biological and Economic Analysis Division, Office of Pesticide Programs, and Office of Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances. http://www.epa.gov/opp00001/pestsales/07pestsales/table_of_contents2007.htm.

Tables

Table 1. 

U.S. Industrial/Commercial/Governmental Pesticide Expenditures by Pesticide Class—2006 and 2007

Class

Millions $

% of Total

2006

Herbicides/PGR

873

46

Insecticides/Miticides

694

37

Fungicides

240

13

Other

71

4

Total

1,878

100

2007

Herbicides/PGR

896

47

Insecticides/Miticides

709

37

Fungicides

243

13

Other

73

4

Total

1,921

100

Table 2. 

U.S. Industrial/Commercial/Governmental pPesticide Amount Used by Pesticide Class—2006 and 2007

Class

Millions Pounds a.i.

% of Total

2006

Herbicides/PGR

45

42

Insecticides/Miticides

14

13

Fungicides

20

19

Nematicides/Fumigants

24

22

Other

4

4

Total

107

100

2007

Herbicides/PGR

46

43

Insecticides/Miticides

14

13

Fungicides

19

18

Nematicides/Fumigants

24

22

Other

4

4

Total

107

100

Table 3. 

Ten Most Commonly Used Conventional Industrial/Commercial/Governmental Pesticide Active Ingredients (millions pounds active ingredient)

Active Ingredient

Type*

2007

2003

2001

Rank

Range**

Rank

Range

Rank

Range

2,4-D

H

1

19-22

1

19-22

1

16-18

Glyphosate

H

2

13-15

2

13-15

2

13-15

Chlorothalonil

F

3

3-5

4

3-5

5

2-4

MSMA

H

4

2-4

5

3-5

8

2-4

Diuron

H

5

2-4

6

2-4

7

2-4

Pendimethalin

H

6

2-4

8

2-4

4

3-5

Triclopyr

H

7

2-4

7

2-4

9

1-3

Copper sulfate

F

8

2-4

3

4-6

3

4-6

Malathion

I

9

1-3

9

1-3

10

1-3

Sulfuryl fluoride

I

10

1-3

10

1-3

---

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*H = herbicide; F = fungicide; I = insecticide.

**Range is the estimate taken from several data sources.

A dash (---) indicates that an estimate is not available.

Footnotes

1.

This document is PI-141, one of a series of the Pesticide Information Office, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date January 2007. Revised April 2014. Reviewed April 2014. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

Frederick M. Fishel, associate professor, Agronomy Department, and director, Pesticide Information Office; Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The use of trade names in this publication is solely for the purpose of providing specific information. UF/IFAS does not guarantee or warranty the products named, and references to them in this publication do not signify our approval to the exclusion of other products of suitable composition. Use pesticides safely. Read and follow directions on the manufacturer's label.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.