Pesticide Application Air Quality Emissions Inventory Project

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The Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires states to submit to them air quality emission inventories for all types of sources every three years. In 2012, the Central States Air Resource Agencies Association (CenSARA) and its contractor, TranSystems Corporation (TranSystems), developed a 2011 agricultural pesticide emissions inventory for the association’s member states of Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas. 

Crops grown in this region total more than 140 million acres and are routinely treated with pesticide products, such as herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides.  Row crops, such as corn, soybeans, and sorghum and non-row crops, such as fruit orchards, were included in the work.  Hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) and/or volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are in pesticide ingredients; VOCs being a main contributor to ground-level ozone, commonly known as smog.  In this work, 458 active ingredient-specific VOC emission factors were developed, based primarily on empirically derived pesticide chemical data maintained by the California Department of Pesticide Regulations; county level active ingredient throughputs were derived from the best available information.

An emissions calculation tool was developed to produce emissions, following a linear crop to acreage relationship as the default. Participating states can use the tool to input local practices such as the selection of crops and/or the choice of pesticide products, as well as the extent and amount of applications. The work also included a survey to try to understand the timeframes pesticides are applied to various crops. These parameters can significantly alter the default linear relationship.  The final product provided the individual states with 2011 emission estimates and a methodology to account for better data when obtained, which can result in a more accurate emission inventory for this source category.


Theresa Pella, Central States Air Resource Agencies Association

Juan A. Maldonado, TranSystems Corporation,, Dr. Chun Yi Wu, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency


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