From 1905 to 1947, lead-arsenate pesticides were used in orchards, primarily apple and pear. These pesticides left lasting arsenic and lead contamination in soil. Some former orchards have been turned into neighborhoods, schools, and parks. People living, working, and playing in contaminated soil may be at risk.
Our maps are only estimates of potentially affected lands. Check with your local planning department to find out if your neighborhood was built on former orchard lands.
Legacy Pesticide Working Group
We're actively looking for solutions to address contaminated lands that are being converted from agricultural use to residential or commercial use. We convened the Legacy Pesticides Working Group made up of 34 members representing banking, health, real estate, local government, and homebuilders from central Washington, to help us identify potential approaches.
The Working Group will meet several times in early 2020 to find mitigation and notification options for properties contaminated with lead and arsenic that can work at the local level. We also hope to gain input on implementing a broad education and awareness strategy. For more information on the Working Group, visit our Legacy Pesticide Working Group page.
Potentially affected lands
Lead-arsenate pesticides were primarily used in apple and pear orchards. The map below provides a general distribution of lead-arsenate pesticide contamination based on where apple and pear trees were located historically. The information is based on the peak-year acreage of apple and pear trees from 1905 to 1947, when lead-arsenate pesticides were used.
Number of acres potentially affected in each county