New research commissioned by the Watsonville, Calif.-based Alliance for Food and Farming shows that California growers have cut use of older and more regulated pesticides by 66% over a 12-year period.

“Produce Marketing Association supports the Alliance and believes this scientific study dispels many of the myths surrounding pesticide use and the serious role the produce industry plays in ensuring safe, healthy and fresh fruits and vegetables,” Glen Boyet, senior director for public relations for the Newark, Del.-based Produce Marketing Association said in an email.

The study, authored by Jim Wells of the Environmental Solutions Group, reveals that organophosphate and carbamate classes of pesticides declined from 9.6 million pounds in 1998 to 3.3 million pounds in 2009, a reduction of 66%.

Farmers have transitioned to more environmentally friendly pesticides, Wells said.

“A detailed look at the top 100 pesticides used in 2009 shows the number one and the number three most used pesticides in California are approved for use in the production of organic foods,” Wells said. “These two pesticides alone account for over one third of all pesticides used in California agriculture and reported to the California Department of Pesticide Regulation.”