Western Pesticide Risk Management Project


Improving human & environmental health

The Western US is home to some of the most historic and successful IPM programs in the world. As part of a signature program of the Western IPM Center, over 17 universities and organizations are working together to reduce the human and ecological risk from highly hazardous pesticides and develop methods for widespread adoption of integrated pest management practices. 

An international problem needs real solutions

Certain broad-spectrum pesticides negatively affect global agricultural sustainability through direct impacts on human health and harming ecological function. There are multiple concurrent efforts reduce or eliminate their use. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) International Code of Conduct on Pesticide Management is trying to reduce pesticide risk by working to eliminate the use of Highly Hazardous Pesticides as defined by the FAO. The FAO Code of Conduct formally acknowledges IPM’s central role in reducing pesticide use to achieve a lasting transformation to more sustainable practices. Reducing pesticide risks is also among the goals of the US National Roadmap for IPM.


Working together for change

The Western US is home to some of the most historic and successful IPM programs in the world, and these diverse programs provide what may be the best context for advancing approaches to pesticide risk management. Successful efforts in risk reduction must address multiple pathways, including provision of decision-support in pesticide selection to encourage use of reduced-risk products, risk mitigation education with the use of higher risk products, and development of pathways that lead to elimination of highly hazardous pesticides. IPM Extension programs are essential for progress in both IPM adoption and pesticide risk reduction, and they provide essential components of pesticide risk management by contributing to “safe and effective use” and deployment of alternatives to pesticides.

Extension IPM professionals from the Western US overwhelmingly agree that capacity development in IPM Extension is needed to achieve pesticide risk reduction throughout this region. This Signature Project of the Western IPM Center aims to address the needs expressed by collaborating programs to achieve significant and documentable pesticide risk reduction across the Western US, a region representing some of the world’s most productive and diverse agro-ecosystems. Successful risk reduction here could also translate into significant progress globally through the mechanisms that are developed as part of this project.

Project Collaborators


Project Leads

 Paul Jepson


IPM Impacts 

  • Greatly increase capacity of Western region state IPM programs in pesticide risk assessment, communication, education, and mitigation, resulting in expanded skill sets for extension educators.

  • Each Western region IPM program will receives specific education on pesticide risk education program design that will be used in each state’s IPM programming. 

  • Achieve significant reduction in the use of highly hazardous pesticides in the West, and increase the use of reduced-risk products, with expanded risk mitigation for other products.

  • Pesticide Risk-Reduction: An International Guideline was published in The Lancet:Planetary Health in March 2020. This paper classifies 659 active ingredients based on their risks to humans and the environment, including including biomagnification and atmospheric ozone depletion and risks to aquatic life, terrestrial wildlife, and pollinators. 

Key Activities and Outputs

  • Annual pesticide risk education workshops for Western Region IPM Coordinators and other extension faculty that focuses on pesticide risk education and impact evaluation. Each state IPM program is learning about, designing, and evaluating risk education programming, targeted to their respective audiences.

  • New pesticide risk classification tools that support risk-based decision-making to increase use of reduced-risk products and adoption of risk mitigation practices, and reduce use of highly hazardous pesticides in the US Western region.
  • Monthly conference calls targeted at capacity development in pesticide risk assessment and education for IPM practitioners including the concepts, principles, and delivery of pesticide risk assessment, communication, and education.