Pesticide Action Network

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November 24, 1997

1.2 Billion lbs. of Pesticides Used in U.S.

The U.S. used approximately 1.2 billion pounds of pesticide active ingredient in 1995 -- about the same as in 1994 -- according to a recent report by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This total, which does not include chlorine, wood preservatives or specialty biocides, accounts for approximately 20% of world pesticide use -- about 5.7 billion lbs. in 1995. In dollar terms, the U.S. accounts for nearly a third of pesticide purchases worldwide. The majority -- 939 million lbs. (77%) -- was used in agriculture, while industrial, commercial and government applications accounted for 150 million lbs. (12%) and home and garden applications made by households accounted for 133 million lbs. (11%).

Weed killers were the most widely used class of pesticides, comprising 46% of U.S. applications by volume compared to insecticides (11%), fungicides (6%) and other pesticides (37%). Herbicides were also the most widely used class worldwide, accounting for 39% of use. While U.S. agricultural herbicide use has remained fairly stable since 1979, home and garden herbicide use increased from 33 million lbs. in 1979 to 47 million lbs. in 1995. (Data for home and garden use do not account for applications made by pest control companies or other hired pesticide applicators).

The report shows that U.S. pesticide use has declined some since a 1979 high of approximately 1.5 billion lbs., but that use has remained more or less steady since 1987. Farm use of conventional pesticides (a category that excludes certain pesticide chemicals such as sulfur and petroleum) peaked around 1980 at 850 million lbs., and has since varied between 658 million lbs. in 1987 and 786 million lbs. in 1994. About 771 million lbs. of conventional pesticides were used on farms in 1995. In non-agricultural sectors, conventional pesticide use peaked in the late 1970s at approximately 300 million lbs. per year. Since then, use has declined to about 200 million lbs. in 1995.

On average, the U.S. produced about 1.3 billion lbs. of pesticides and imported an additional 200 million lbs. each year in 1994 and 1995. The U.S. exported approximately one billion lbs. of pesticides during this period.

The following tables list the top conventional pesticides by sector.


Top ten conventional pesticides used in U.S. agricultural crop production by volume in 1995:

Pesticide active ingredient Millions lbs.

1. Atrazine 68-73

2. Metolachlor 59-64

3. Metam sodium 49-54

4. Methyl bromide 39-46

5. Dichloropropene 38-43

6. 2,4-D 31-36

7. Glyphosate 25-30

8. Cyanazine 24-29

9. Pendimethalin 23-28

10. Trifluralin 23-28


Home and Garden

Top nine pesticides used in U.S. home and garden applications (data is given for only the top nine pesticides).

Pesticide active ingredient Millions lbs.

1. 2,4-D 7-9

2. Glyphosate 5-7

3. Dicamba 3-5

4. MCPP 3-5

5. Diazinon 2-4

6. Chlorpyrifos 2-4

7. Carbaryl 1-3

8. Benefin 1-3

9. Dacthal 1-3



Top nine pesticides use in U.S. industrial/commercial/ government applications.

Pesticide active ingredient Millions of lbs.


1. 2,4-D 10-13

2. Chlorpyrifos 9-13

3. Glyphosate 8-11

4. Methyl bromide 6-8

5. Copper sulfate 5-7

6. MSMA 3-4

7. Diazinon 3-4

8. Diuron 2-4

9. Malathion 2-3

Source: Pesticides Industry Sales and Usage: 1994 and 1995 Market Estimates. U.S. EPA. 1997.

Contact: Arnold Aspelin, Senior Economic Advisor, Biological and Economic Analysis Division, Office of Pesticide Programs, EPA, (7503W), 401 M Street, SW, Washington, DC 20460; phone (703) 308-8136; email [email protected] This report is also available online: www.epa.gov/oppbead1/95pestsales/


Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA)

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