Pesticides banned in France are still found in our bodies, according to a study published this Thursday by Public Health France, which recommends varying your diet, including organic food and ventilating your home.

The health agency was interested in "levels of exposure to five families of pesticides as well as PCBs, dioxins and furans, present in many environmental and food sources", according to a press release.

SPF studied the exposure of 2,503 adults (18-74 years old) and 1,104 children (6-17 years old) between 2014 and 2016 as part of this so-called Esteban study.

PCBs were chemical compounds used by industry before being banned in the 1980s. They accumulate in the environment and chronic exposure could have health effects.

Dioxins are also persistent in the environment, very toxic and can cause cancer in particular.

Pesticides used in agriculture or wood treatment

Long-term exposure to furan could damage the liver. Pesticides studied (organochlorines and organophosphates) were used in agriculture, wood treatment or against malaria before being gradually banned because they were dangerous. If their levels have decreased compared to a previous study of 2006-2007, "certain exposures to substances prohibited today concern a not insignificant part of the population", notes SPF. These include lindane, an insecticide banned since 1998 in agriculture, which is found in "almost 50% of the population of adults or children".

"Glyphosate is quantified in less than 20% of adults or children," says SPF. This weedkiller, classified as a probable carcinogen, continues to be used in France, even if the government wants to reduce its use. Organophosphate pesticides are less persistent and are not found much, except for DMTP. The sources of exposure are diverse: “food increases impregnation with organochlorines, PCBs / dioxins / furans in people consuming eggs or fats; pyrethroids, PCBs / dioxins / furans in beef consumers, ”says SPF.

"On the other hand, the consumption of products from organic farming reduced those of organochlorines, DMTP (organophosphate metabolite), and pyrethroids," according to the press release.

Tobacco and "the use of household insecticides, namely antiparasitics on domestic animals, those against mites and those against flying insects" can also increase exposure to pyrethroids.

SPF recommends that you ventilate your home regularly.

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