Pesticide use down statewide

STOCKTON -- State officials say dry weather is credited in part for an overall decline in pesticide use statewide.

In San Joaquin County, pesticide application fell by one million pounds, to nine million pounds, in 2007, the most recent year for which figures are available.

Statewide, use fell by 16 million pounds to 172 million pounds, a decline of 8.4 percent from 2006.

San Joaquin County Agricultural Commissioner Scott Hudson said dry weather has cut the need for some herbicides and fungicides Mary-Ann Warmerdam, California's chief pesticide regulator, said her agency has been promoting use of "techniques that pose the lowest risk to public health and the environment."

Environmentalists countered that the use of dangerous fumigants has not declined.