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Abstract

Pesticides used on major crops increased from 225 million pounds of active ingredient (the material in a pesticide product that controls pests) in 1964 to 558 million pounds in 1982. Rapid growth in the use of herbicides led that dramatic increase. Farmers increased their use of pesticides on corn and soybeans to a greater extent than on other crops during that period. Insecticide use on cotton fell, probably because the pyrethroid insecticides, which are applied at low rates, were introduced in the late 1970's. Since 1980, pesticide use has stabilized or declined. Regulatory decisions that removed pesticides from the market if health or environmental risks outweighed the economic benefits may have reduced the variety of pesticides available to farmers. But, those decisions apparently have not slowed the growth of pesticide use

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