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Générations Futures bring political attention to “Phyto-Victimes”

This year at the Paris International Agricultural Show a group of farmers, who are victims of pesticides, demonstrated to denounce the current problems of farming with pesticides and to call for action. For the first time they stood upto contradict statements made by industry that suggest that pesticides are not poisonous.

As a result of their action at the agricultural fair in Paris on 27 February 2012, meetings have been organised with the French Agricultural Minster and the cabinet of France’s Prime Minister, Francois Fillon. In the near future, network members will be travelling to Brussels to meet the Agricultural commissioner.

The network members say they want to make know “the tragic and painful reality” of their situation. “I’m the living proof that illnesses due to pesticides exist”, the slogans on their tea-shirts read. The health problems are both the result of chronic and acute pesticide poisoning.

The action took place at the stand of the lobby group of the agrochemicals lobby in France, which the network sees as a symbolic and powerful statement to help kick start a debate to bring attention to those who are responsible for their situation.

“For years, we have experienced disinformation campaigns that are commissioned by industry groups and which try to reassure us and then are sometimes judged by courts to be "lies". Industry and governments disseminate on a regular basis quality assessment reports of these products. More and more often we hear criticism of the quality of these reports, which are submitted by the different corporations and are not written by independent evaluators. In addition, scientific studies increasingly link numerous health risks posed to people exposed to pesticides. Realizing that pesticides are omnipresent and that as farmers we come into contact with them every day, who among can say that they do not have in his or her circle of friends and colleagues someone suffering from a serious condition - cancer or Parkinson’s - at an age when they should be at the top of their capacity?”

In the first instance, they want to address the problems of farmers exposed to pesticides: to inform them of the current situation. They also want to address the whole of the food processing industry, and challenge decision makers and some key organisations in the agricultural community. They want products that threaten health to be taken off the market and a system of evaluation, certification, and independent and transparent licensing introduced. Finally, they want to gain support for farmers dealing with related illnesses, and strong and binding decisions to halt the current situation.

Paul Francois, President of Phyto-Victimes, said: “We are here today for future generations and also for those who have already died of pesticide exposure. The current situation, a consequence of the desire to produce more and more whatever the cost, is no longer acceptable. The truth needs to be told so that we will finally be recognized as victims, and so that we get adequate support to become free from these hazardous products in food production,” he concludes.

For more information:

As partner in the 2012 Pesticide Action Week, HEAL translated and disseminated the press release provided by Générations Futures about the action (http://www.env-health.org/spip.php?article1403).

Last updated on 7 March 2012

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