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Pesticides include chemicals as well as biological and physical agents used to control a diverse array of pests. In the United States, currently registered pesticides include 1023 active ingredients formulated into 13,400 separate products including adjuvants and antimicrobial compounds. The long list of agents can best be understood by grouping them to target pest or use categories and further subdividing them by chemical structure (Table 34–1). In the United States, pesticide use is about 1.1 billion pounds per year, and estimates run as high as 5.2 billion pounds used worldwide. These estimates do not include antimicrobial agents, which can account for as much as half of all pesticides used, bringing US consumption alone to more than 2 billion pounds annually.

Table 34–1.Pesticide use categories, ingredients, and chemical structure.


In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates the registration, sale, and conditions of use of all pesticides and is responsible for the protection of agricultural workers exposed to pesticides. Prior to enactment of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) in 1970, there was little regulation and testing of pesticides in the United States. Since then, the EPA has applied ...

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