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Générations Futures: The APAChe investigation: Analysis of agricultural pesticide presence in hair

Générations Futures and Marie-Lys Bibeyran, a viticultural employee, recently embarked on an investigation to answer the question: “Are viticultural employees who do not directly handle pesticides but work in the vineyard, and nearby residents contaminated with viticultural pesticides?’’

France remains the top pesticide user in Europe with 62,700 tons of active ingredients sold in 2011. As a result, workers as well as recreational gardeners and consumers are still exposed to active ingredients which can be endocrine disrupting chemicals, neurotoxics or possibly carcinogens. With, Vineyards represent 3.7% of the utilised agricultural area (783 000 hectares in 2011) but roughly 20% of the pesticides used in agriculture are used on vineyards, of which the majority are fungicides (80%).

Between mid-October and mid-November 2012, Générations Futures and Marie-Lys Bibeyran collected hair samples from 25 people (15 viticultural employees, 10 people who are not viticultural employees among which 5 nearby residents of the vineyards and 5 “control” individuals living far away from any vineyard). The analysis of these samples was carried out by a specialised laboratory Kudzu Science to determine the presence or absence of viticultural pesticide residues.

The worrying results included for example, above average pesticides residues among viticultural workers than those living far from the vineyards; 74% of authorised pesticides within vineyard from the pre-established list for the study were found at least once among tested individuals; a forbidden product Diuron found in the hair of one employee; more than 45% of the found molecules have been listed as possible carcinogens in Europe or in the U.S and; more than 36% of the found molecules were suspected to be endocrine disruptors (EDCs).

Originally posted on 14 March 2013

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