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article imageSome French holiday regions rated as pesticide use hot-spots

By Robert Myles     Feb 3, 2016 in Environment
Paris - French TV channel, Francetv, in conjunction with its investigatory flagship broadcast, “Cash Investigation,” today released an interactive map detailing the French departments most affected by the use of dangerous pesticides.
The map makes for particularly unpleasant reading for a number of departments (counties) situated along France’s Atlantic seaboard, many of which are popular summer holiday destinations.
French TV channel Francetv and investigatory program Cash Investigation have produced an interactive...
French TV channel Francetv and investigatory program Cash Investigation have produced an interactive map of France showing the French departments where the use of hazardous pesticides is most prevalent.
Francetvinfo - Fair Use
Almost 100,000 metric tonnes of pesticides classified as hazardous or potentially hazardous are deployed in France each year. That total comes despite the French government having introduced sweeping bans on pesticide use in 2014 as Pesticide Action Network (PAN) reported.
The 2014 ban prohibited the private or public use of pesticides in the likes of forests or public spaces while severely curtailing the range of pesticides that can be used in homes and gardens. Many of the bans, however, will not be fully in place until 2020.
The French government went further in 2015 introducing a ban on over-the-counter sales of agrochemical giant Monsanto’s market leader weed-killer, Roundup, a product based on glyphosate. The effect of the ban was immediate with many pesticides, previously in regular use, disappearing from the aisles in garden centres and agricultural merchants.
But the bans introduced in 2014 only covered between 5 and 10 percent of all pesticide use in France. In the meantime, France’s fresh air and green fields remain blighted by potentially hazardous substances. The severest impact of agrochemical use occurs in northeast France and along the Atlantic coast as shown on the map.
For the purposes of their research, the Cash Investigation and Francetv teams analyzed retail sales of the pesticides considered to pose a threat to children’s health. Their data, provided by France’s Ecology Ministry, covered periods between 2008 and 2013 for mainland France and 2009 to 2013 for France’s overseas departments.
During those periods, according to Cash Investigation, thousands of different pesticides were sold. Some of these are considered harmless but others contain active compounds already identified as having a probable or proven risk to humans.
As detailed above, particularly in relation to Roundup, some chemicals had been banned during the course of the study but most of the pesticides remain in use in France today.
Worst affected departments are the Gironde, situated southwest of Bordeaux on the southern Bay of Biscay coastline, Loire-Atlantique, at the mouth of the river Loire, also on the Biscay coast, and Marne, a department in northeast France. All three of these departmental black spots had sales of dangerous pesticides three and a half times the French departmental average.
The researchers identified no less than 71 substances considered dangerous or potentially dangerous by the US Environmental Protection Agency, the European Commission’s database of hazardous chemicals and the World Health Organization backed, the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
The interactive map of pesticide use for all French departments can now be viewed on the Francetvinfo website.
The map gives a comprehensive department-by-department breakdown individual chemical use as well as a description (Fr.) of the hazards to health posed by each.
More about Pesticides, banned pesticides, pesticide bans, French pesticide bans, France bans Roundup
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