Project at a Glance

Title: Air pollution emissions associated with pesticide applications in Fresno County

Principal Investigator / Author(s): Leung, Steve

Contractor: Eureka Laboratories, Inc.

Contract Number: A7-047-30

Research Program Area: Emissions Monitoring & Control

Topic Areas: Stationary Sources, Toxic Air Contaminants


This report presents the findings in estimating the air pollution emissions associated with pesticide applications in Fresno County, California. The investigation covers the calendar year 1976. To achieve the program objectives, this project was conducted in three parts. The primary concern of the first part was data collection which involved both reported and unreported pesticide use data. The reported data were obtained from the Pesticide Use Report; the unreported data were obtained by questionnaire surveys of farmers, pesticide dealers, and pesticide suppliers. The second part involved an inventory of emissions resulting from pesticide applications in Fresno County. The emission inventory was conducted in two steps. The initial step was to compile a list of the total pesticides applied in Fresno County classified as synthetic, inorganic and nonsynthetic products. Synthetic and inorganic products were further broken down into three groups: inorganics, organics, and inert materials. The synthetic organics, inert organics, and nonsynthetic organics were separated according to their acreage and nonacreage applications. The second step of emission inventory was to calculate the emissions of each organic compound based upon vapor pressure, molecular weight, relative humidity, and temperature, etc. Possible alternatives to pesticide use and methods of pesticide applications are discussed in the last part of the report. Based on the findings of this study, the estimated pesticide application in Fresno County for the calendar year 1976 was 22 million pounds. This quantity represents 25.2 percent synthetic organics, 29.8 percent inorganics, and 45.0 percent of nonsynthetic petroleum oils. The major pesticide end user is the agricultural industry which is responsible for an estimated 89.1 percent of the total consumption. Estimated home and garden application is a distant second with 3.8 percent consumption. This rate of pesticide application leads to an estimated total organic gas (TOG) annual average emission of 19.3 tons per day (TPD), and 18.6 TPD for reactive organic gas (ROG) emissions. The highest monthly emission for 1976 occurred in December with estimated TOG and ROG averages of 50.5 and 50.4 TPD respectively. The total pesticide emissions in December 1976 would account for 3.9 percent of the ROG emissions and 3.0 percent of the TOG emissions from all Fresno County emission sources (stationary and mobile) during 1973.

For questions regarding this research project, including available data and progress status, contact: Research Division staff at (916) 445-0753

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