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Publication #PI-143

Pesticide Use Trends in the U.S.: Global Comparison1

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 provides data on volumes used and sales of pesticides from the latest EPA survey data available, 2006 – 2007. 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 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

  • Proprietary data sources with vendor permission.

Explanation of data components

The data presented in the tables separate broad classes of pesticides – herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, and other pesticides. The “herbicide” data combine plant growth regulators with them, while “fungicides” and “insecticides” exclude sulfur and petroleum oil. Data summarized for “other” pesticides combine the total for nematicides, fumigants, rodenticides, molluscicides, aquatic, and pesticides for the control of birds and fish. Sulfur and petroleum oil are included in the “other” category as well. Data for wood preservatives, specialty biocides, and chlorine/hypochlorites are not included in the tables under any pesticide class. Totals may not add precisely due to rounding. In reporting the amount used, data contained in Table 2 are presented as pounds of active ingredient (a.i.) per acre. These data represent the combined pesticide usage in the major markets of agriculture, home and garden – which include pesticides applied by homeowners, both indoors and outdoors. These two market sectors do not include pesticide applications by professional applicators. Industrial/commercial/governmental uses involve pesticides applied by professional applicators to industrial, commercial, and governmental facilities, plus custom/commercial applications to homes and gardens, including lawns.

World and U.S. pesticide expenditures (Table 1)

World pesticide expenditures totaled more than $35 billion in 2006 and 2007. Expenditures on herbicides accounted for the largest portion of total expenditures with more than 40%, followed by expenditures on insecticides, fungicides, and other pesticides, respectively. Total expenditures for pesticides as a whole were up in 2007 compared to 2006.

U.S. pesticide expenditures totaled more than $11 billion in both 2006 and 2007– in similar proportions as those for the world market. Both years, the percentage of herbicide sales in the U.S. was higher than the other classes of pesticides for the world. U.S. expenditures accounted for approximately 33% of total world expenditures on pesticides, approximately 40% of world expenditures on herbicides, approximately 40% of world expenditures on insecticides, and approximately 15% and 25% of world expenditures on fungicides and other pesticides, respectively.

World and U.S. pesticide amount used (Table 2)

World pesticide amount used exceeded 5.0 billion pounds in 2006 and 2007. Herbicides accounted for the largest portion of total use, followed by other pesticide use, and insecticide use. Total world pesticide amount used decreased in 2001 for all pesticide types.

U.S. pesticide amount used in both 2006 and 2007 exceeded 1.1 billion pounds, in proportions similar to those of world pesticide use, with a larger portion of total U.S. pesticide use on herbicides and other pesticides. U.S. pesticide amount used accounted for more than 20% of total world pesticide amount used, approximately 25% of world herbicide amount used, 10% of world insecticide amount used, and approximately 14% and 22% of world fungicides and other pesticide amount used, respectively.

Additional information

Grube, A., D. Donaldson, T. Kiely, 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/pesticides.

Tables

Table 1. 

World and U.S. pesticide expenditures by pesticide type – 2006 and 2007.

 

World Market

U.S. Market

U.S. % of the World Market

 

Millions $

%

Millions $

%

 

2006

Herbicides

14,247

40

5,673

48

40

Insecticides

10,259

29

4,091

35

40

Fungicides

7,987

22

1,165

10

15

Other

3,320

9

855

7

26

Total

35,814

100

11,784

100

33

2007

Herbicides

15,512

39

5,856

47

38

Insecticides

11,158

28

4,337

35

39

Fungicides

9,216

23

1,375

11

15

Other

3,557

9

886

7

25

Total

39,443

100

12,454

100

32

Table 2. 

World and U.S. pesticide amount used by pesticide type – 2006 and 2007.

 

World Market

U.S. Market

U.S. % of the World Market

 

Millions lbs of a.i.

%

Millions lbs of a.i.

%

 

2006

Herbicides

2,018

39

498

44

25

Insecticides

955

18

99

9

10

Fungicides

519

10

73

6

14

Other

1,705

33

457

41

27

Total

5,197

100

1,127

100

22

2007

Herbicides

2,096

40

531

47

25

Insecticides

892

17

93

8

10

Fungicides

518

10

70

6

14

Other

1,705

33

439

39

26

Total

5,211

100

1,133

100

22

Footnotes

1.

This document is PI-143, one of a series of the Pesticide Information Office, UF/IFAS Extension. Published January 2007. Revised August 2013. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

Frederick M. Fishel, professor, Agronomy Department, and director, Pesticide Information Office; UF/IFAS Extension, 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 does 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.