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Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

Oregon shares first pesticides report

after a nine-year political battle, the state of Oregon in the us has released its first accounting of pesticides use. Over 40 million pounds (18 million kgs) of pesticides, fumigants, herbicides and insecticides were used in the state's land and water bodies in 2007 alone.

Released by the Oregon Department of Agriculture, the report says that a total of 551 different chemicals were used across the state last year. A soil fumigant applied on potato fields, metam-sodium, accounted for the maximum, 42 per cent, of the chemicals used. About 18.5 million pounds (8.3 million kg) of pesticides were used on field crops, 6.3 million pounds (3 million kg) on vegetables, 4.2 million pounds (2 million kg) on fruit and nut trees, 2.9 million pounds (1.3 million kg) on seed crops and 1.5 million pounds (0.6 million kg) on nurseries and Christmas tree farms, says the report. It also reveales the heavy use of possible carcinogenic pesticides such as 1,3-dichloropropene, bifenthrin and glyphosate.

Environmentalists applauded the report, but said it lacks some key details. The report fails to give the carcinogenic or other harmful impacts of the chemicals used. It takes into account pesticides used in large basins but does not make a comparative analysis of the pesticides applied area wise. The Oregon Environmental Council, a civil society organization, has demanded that the law be modified so that there is specific information in the public domain on use of pesticides and fumigants at schools, in parks, smaller rivers and streams.

The report was authorized by the 1999 legislation to provide detailed information about the use of toxic chemicals in agriculture and to gauge how they affect soil and water quality. With the legislation set to expire in 2009, environmentalists are lobbying to extend the law to report the use of pesticides on a regular basis.

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