An agricultural machine spreading pesticides (illustration image). - PHILIPPE HUGUEN / AFP

In fruits and vegetables, in water ... But also in the atmosphere. In a report published on Tuesday, February 18, the NGO Générations Futures is sounding the alarm on the presence, in the air in France, of endocrine disrupting pesticides (PE) * and / or carcinogenic, mutagenic and reprotoxic (CMR) "...

The NGO is based on data published by Atmo France, federation of approved associations for monitoring air quality (Aasqa), on December 18. This first report, entitled "PhytAtmo", compiles the results of fifteen years of measurements of pesticides in the air on the whole of the French territory carried out by the Aasqa.

Two additional analyzes to avoid bias

In a second step, Générations Futures sought to assess, among the pesticides found in the air by Atmo France, those were PE or suspected of being PE, and those which were CMR, these two categories having toxic effects without threshold , that is to say even at a very low dose.

The data collected by the Aasqa have their limits. These air quality monitoring associations do not all look for the same molecules in their analyzes, nor use the same techniques or repeat the studies at the same frequency. To avoid bias in the results, Générations Futures carried out two additional analyzes, the association said in a press release.

The first was based on the most recent data for 2017. but available in a limited number of regions. Those where the local air quality monitoring association had undertaken measurements that year. Namely Corsica, Hauts-de-France, Grand-Est, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, Occitanie, Center-Val de Loire, details Le Monde. The second analysis concerns the entire territory, but certain measures may be relatively old.

"Air, a real route of exposure for populations"

The results ? In the “2017 analysis”, 52 different active substances (for a total of 1,633 molecules identified and quantified) were found at least once in the eight regions where measurements were made that year. Of these, 28.83% were pesticides classified CMR 1 or 2 according to the EU and 61.53% were pesticides suspected of being PE in the TEDX database.

In the second analysis, 104 different active substances were found in twelve different regions. 33.65% were pesticides classified CMR 1 or 2 according to the EU and 66.34% were pesticides suspected of being PE.

“These results bear witness to the fact that air is a real route of exposure of populations to PE and / or CMR pesticides, tip Générations Futures. This is particularly worrying for the vulnerable groups that are the residents of cultivated areas, particularly exposed. The association is particularly concerned about the presence of active substances "endocrine disrupters" among the pesticide residues quantified in the air. “Because for these substances, it is more the period of exposure that makes the risk than the level of exposure, specifies Générations Futures. And therefore even small amounts of PE pesticides in the air can potentially have harmful effects if the exposure takes place at specific periods of life. "

"Take agriculture out of synthetic pesticides"

François Veillerette, director of Générations Futures, then called on the public authorities to “rapidly reduce the use of pesticides in agriculture” until, in the long term, they released synthetic pesticides from agriculture. A request already made by the NGO at the end of November.

Générations Futures also requests "to accelerate the withdrawal of recognized CMR and PE substances but also those suspected of being so" and "to better inform and protect the most exposed populations in rural areas by introducing buffer zones that are truly protective of at least 100 meters ".

A decree, published at the end of December, has since January 1 established zones of non-treatment with pesticides around homes in France. But from three to 20 meters depending on the crops, spreading techniques and products used. Far from the 100 meters requested by Générations Futures.


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* Chemical substances or mixtures capable of modifying the functioning of the hormonal system

  • Environment
  • Planet
  • Agriculture
  • pesticides
  • Air quality
  • Endocrine disruptors