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State Agriculture Department Releases Pesticide Use Survey

MDA LogoANNAPOLIS, MD – The Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA), which is responsible for enforcing the Maryland Pesticide Applicator’s Law, has released the results of a statewide pesticide use survey – the first such report since 2004. The report covers usage in 2011 but was conducted in 2012 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).

“This survey provides us with comprehensive information about what pesticides are being used around the state and what trends are developing,” said Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance. “This data not only helps agriculture and industry professionals understand what is being used, it also provides public and environmental health experts with information that can help them focus their research and monitoring efforts.”

Pesticides are defined as any substance or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling, or mitigating any pest. They can take the form of bait, liquid, powder or spray. Commonly used pesticides include insecticides, herbicides (weed killers) and rodenticides. The survey, which was voluntary, included farmers, private applicators, commercially licensed businesses and public agencies that are permitted by MDA to apply pesticides. The overall response rate was 51 percent, which is considered an excellent response for a survey conducted solely by mail. There were no telephone or in-person follow ups.

According to the survey, more than 16.5 million pounds of pesticides were used throughout Maryland in 2011. The majority – more than 11.2 million pounds or 68 percent of the total – were pesticides used as wood preservatives. Wood preservative are pesticides commonly used to protect decks, raised garden beds, telephone poles, road signs, marine pilings, etc. from the damage insects and mold can inflict. Wood preservatives are applied to wood in a controlled factory environment prior to its sale to contractors.

Herbicides accounted for 3.4 million pounds or 21 percent of total usage; insecticides accounted for 5 percent; and fungicides for 3 percent. Since the last pesticide survey was conducted in 2004, fungicide use has declined 84 percent; herbicide usage has declined 46 percent; and insecticide use declined 5 percent.

More than 360 pesticide products are listed and ranked in the report. It also compares the top ten pesticide types (i.e., insecticides, herbicides and fungicides) used in 2011 and compares them to usage amounts from 2004, 2000, 1997, and 1994. Because of budget restrictions in recent years, this is the first Pesticide Use Survey that MDA has been able to commission NASS to conduct since 2004.

For a copy of Maryland Pesticide Statistics for 2011.

All commercial applicators must be registered and permitted with MDA. Restricted use pesticides may only be applied by, or under the direct supervision, of a licensed applicator. For a searchable database of licensed applicators as well pesticides that can be applied in Maryland, see here.

For a brief overview of MDA’s Pesticide Regulation Section.

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Contact Information

If you have any questions, need additional information or would like to arrange an interview, please contact:

Jason Schellhardt
Director of Communications
Telephone: 410-841-5888

Megan Guilfoyle
Public Information Officer
Telephone: 410-841-5889