Pesticide Use in the U.S.

March 25, 2009 at 7:30 am

I enjoy reading pesticide news from other states, and I recently stumbled on University of Florida Extension Chemically Speaking newsletter.  This newsletter has been long since bookmarked by me as a great resource on pesticide registrations and updates.  In their March, 2009 issue, a Chemical and Engineering newstory was quoted on Pesticide use in the U.S.  Twenty years of data compiled by various federal and state agencies and groups indicate that pesticide use has dropped through 2001 (the last year of reliable data).  The project since 2001 is that pesticide use has remained flat.

The drop in pesticide use is due to a host of factors, including better pesticides that not only are more selective and applied at lower rates, but also have lower inherent toxicity and thus a lower impact on human health and the environment. Another factor is the set of farming strategies called integrated pest management (IPM), which relies on the life cycles of pests and crops to control pests economically and withholds use of pesticides until potential damage reaches a certain threshold.

Along those same lines a Bernards Township  in New Jersey recently announced it was going “pesticide free”, joining a list of cities, towns, municipalities and even a school district in New Jersey that are now pesticide free.

The township in December adopted an “integrated pest management” policy that calls for things like manual weeding; aerating soil; and letting grass grow taller as a way to maintain grounds.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) isn’t new. In fact, IPM has been around for years for farmers and Master Gardeners.  IPM is simply a process of pest control whereby a host of resource and knowledge is used in making pest management decision-making process. Today, IPM is applied to both agricultural and non-agricultural environments, and does include the use of pesticides as one of many tools available for pest management.

I suggest bookmarking Chemically Speaking and giving it a read.  It’s worth your time.

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