At a Glance: Toxics at home – U.S. civilian use of pesticides, early 1990's

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Attitudes toward chemical use, including pesticides, are partly derived from usual accepted practices. The following statistics reflect US civilian use of pesticides for agriculture, business, government and consumer purposes in the years immediately after the Gulf War. In the chemical industry, the pesticide market is considered "mature," although it shows modest growth in most years. Thus the figures below can be considered representative of US pesticide use in the period of the Gulf War as well. Clearly, the US attitude toward pesticides is one of acceptance-and heavy use.

  • number of pesticide products: 20,000
  • number of active ingredients they contain: 700
  • pounds of active ingredients sold annually: 6+ *billion*
  • percentage of total pesticides sold-insecticides: 21%
  • number consumer pesticide spray units sold annually: about 200 *million*
  • pesticide product costs to users: over $8 *billion*
  • percentage pesticides used by agriculture: 75%
  • percentage pesticides used by industry, commerce, government: 18%
  • percentage pesticides used by consumers: 6%

Sources: Congressional Research Service, 1993; Chemical & Engineering News, June 29, 1993. Reproduced with permission from "Pesticides and Indoor Air Part 1," The Human Ecologist #60, Winter 1993.