What are pesticides?
Pesticides are chemicals used to control insects, weeds, and plant or animal diseases. Over 1000 pesticides are approved for use in California. They are applied to fields by air, by farm machinery, or by workers on the ground.
Why is this indicator included in CalEnviroScreen?
- Farmworker families and people who live near agricultural fields can be exposed to pesticides, both outdoors and inside homes.
- Studies have found that people living in agricultural areas of California have higher amounts of pesticides in their bodies than other people.
- Exposure to high levels of some pesticides can cause illness immediately or conditions such as birth defects or cancer later in life.
How is pesticide use measured in CalEnviroScreen 3.0?
- The California Department of Pesticide Regulation keeps a record of where and when agricultural pesticides are used.
- CalEnviroScreen includes the most toxic pesticides that people may be exposed to that are used in California agriculture.
- The indicator adds up the number of pounds per square mile of the select 70 pesticide active ingredients for the years 2012-2014.
- The indicator only includes pesticies used on agricultural commodities and does not include agricultural use such as golf courses or other types of uses like in the home.
- A complete description of the Pesticide Use indicator can be found in the CalEnviroScreen 3.0 report.
Where can I find more information about pesticides and pesticide use?
- CDPR fact sheet: What is a Pesticide?
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Pesticides: Human Health Issues