November 20, 2014 / 1:01 AM / 5 years ago

Backyard pesticides show up increasingly in California watersheds: report

SACRAMENTO Calif. (Reuters) - Levels of a type of pesticide commonly used in backyard gardens and on farms have increased in urban and rural watersheds in California, the state said in a report released Wednesday.

Pyrethroid pesticides, which are similar to chemicals produced naturally in chrysanthemum flowers, have replaced older, more toxic chemicals used to kill insects and fungi, and are found in about 3,500 products, the United States Environmental Protection Agency said.

But they are believed to be harmful to aquatic life when found in high levels in urban runoff.

From 2008 to 2012, the levels of pyrethroid pesticides increased in California watershed areas tested by the state, even as such older pesticides as DDT and PCBs decreased, the report said.

The state did not say how much the chemicals had increased or declined. The greatest increases were in urban watersheds, the report said.

Among household products that include pyrethroid pesticides are Deep 6 Flying Insect Killer, Hartz Advanced Care flea and tick products for cats and dogs, Cutter Bug Free Backyard products and Turf Builder lawn products, according to the California Department of Pesticide Regulation.

Reporting by Sharon Bernstein; Editing by Eric Walsh

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