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Learn about 17 of the most dangerous, widely used organophosphate pesticides in the U.S.

Acephate

a-suh-fayt

High residues found on basil, cilantro, and other crops. Registered as a U.S. pesticide in 1955. Reregistered in 2006. Currently under registration review.

Overview

Acephate is used in 25 states.

Map of where the organophosphate pesticide acephate is used in the 48 contiguous United States.

Acephate is used in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Data is not available for Alaska, D.C., Hawaiʻi, and U.S. Territories. Data represents the most recent year available from USGS. Details.

See detailed maps of acephate usage by state and county.

Human Health Effects

Even at low levels of exposure, acephate can lead to serious negative health effects.

Cancer

Neurodevelopmental Harm

High Risk Exposure Routes

People are exposed to acephate through food and drinking water, even if they don’t live near areas where pesticides are sprayed. Details.

Food and/or Drinking Water

Occupational Field WorkersPeople performing post-application activities in previously treated fields, but do not directly apply pesticides themselves. Details.

Occupational HandlersPeople involved in pesticide application process. Details.

ResidentialExposure through post-application.

Residential BystanderPeople who live near areas where pesticides are applied. Details.

Spray Drift

High Residue Foods

Where residue levels of acephate exceeded allowable limits or were not legally allowed to have residues. Details.

Basil

Cilantro

Mangoes

Mustard Greens

Percentage of Crops

Acephate is applied on food widely grown and consumed in the United States.

Celery (70%)

Lettuce (70%)

Green Beans (60%)

Peppers (50%)

Cauliflower (30%)

Registered Uses

Where EPA allows acephate to be used.

Agricultural Crops: cotton, fruit and vegetables, orchards and grapes, soybeans, other crops

Christmas Tree Plantations

Cotton and Peanut Seed Treatment

Golf Courses

Indoor Use in Industrial/Commercial Buildings

Ornamental Lawns/Turf

Ornamental Plants

Outdoor Use on Building Foundations/Perimeters

Residential Lawns/Ornamentals

Sod Farms

Additional Information

Estimated Use of Acephate on Crops

Most recent agricultural crop usage data as provided by the U.S. Geographical Survey’s Pesticide National Synthesis Project. Does not reflect universal usage of acephate. (How do EPest-low and EPest-high differ?)

EPest-low

EPest-low: Estimated use in millions of pounds of acephate by year and crop.
USGS

EPest-high

EPest-high: Estimated use in millions of pounds of acephate by year and crop.
USGS

U.S. Tolerances Categories & Commodities for Acephate

The U.S. EPA sets maximum residue limits — known as “tolerances” — on the amount of acephate that may remain in and on foods. The tolerance is the residue level that triggers enforcement actions.

Tolerances have been set for acephate for: Agricultural Commodities and Milk Eggs Meat and/or Poultry. Maximum residue limits have been set for acephate by the U.S. EPA for the following commodities:

Beans
Brussel Sprouts
Cattle
Cauliflower
Celery
Cotton
Cranberry
Eggs
Goat
Hog
Horse
Lettuce
Milk
Peanut
Pepper
Peppermint
Poultry
Sheep
Soybean
Spearmint

U.S. EPA Human Health Risk Assessments for Acephate

Human Health Risk Assessments are conducted by the U.S. EPA to estimate the nature and probability of harmful health effects in people who may be exposed to pesticide. They are used to make informed decisions about approving new pesticides and new uses of registered pesticides, and during our regular review of existing pesticides. Read the assessment for acephate.

Learn about 17 of the most dangerous, widely used organophosphate pesticides in the U.S.