Skip to main content

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

Dimethoate

dee-meth-oh-ayt

High residues found on frozen strawberries, frozen spinach, and other foods. Registered as a U.S. pesticide in 1972. Reregistered in 2006. Currently under registration review.

Overview

Dimethoate is used in 28 states.

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

Dimethoate is used in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

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 dimethoate usage by state and county.

Human Health Effects

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

Cancer

Endocrine Disruption

Neurodevelopmental Harm

Reproductive Toxicity

High Risk Exposure Routes

People are exposed to dimethoate 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.

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

Spray Drift

High Residue Foods

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

Basil

Cilantro

Mangoes

Frozen Spinach

Frozen Strawberries

Snap Peas

Percentage of Crops

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

Broccoli (55%)

Cauliflower (45%)

Tomatoes (40%)

Celery (35%)

Lettuce (35%)

Green Peas (25%)

Oranges (25%)

Peppers (25%)

Registered Uses

Where EPA allows dimethoate to be used.

Agricultural Crops: alfalfa, corn, cotton, fruit and vegetables, orchards and grapes, wheat, other crops

Christmas Tree Farms

Ornamentals in Outdoor Nurseries

Trees Grown for Pulp

Additional Information

Estimated Use of Dimethoate 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 dimethoate. (How do EPest-low and EPest-high differ?)

EPest-low

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

EPest-high

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

U.S. Tolerances Categories & Commodities for Dimethoate

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

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

Alfalfa
Asparagus
Beans
Blueberry
Broccoli
Brussel Sprouts
Cattle
Cauliflower
Celery
Cherry
Citrus
Corn
Cotton
Egg
Endive
Goat
Grapefruit
Hog
Kale
Lemon
Lettuce
Melon
Milk
Mustard Greens
Orange
Pea
Pear
Pecan
Pepper
Potato
Poultry
Safflower
Sheep
Sorghum
Soybean
Swiss chard
Tangerine
Tomato
Turnip
Wheat

U.S. EPA Human Health Risk Assessments for Dimethoate

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 dimethoate.

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