• France's news in English
New map shows pesticide black spots in France
French people protest against pesticides. Photo: AFP

New map shows pesticide black spots in France

Ben McPartland · 21 Apr 2016, 17:36

Published: 21 Apr 2016 11:24 GMT+02:00
Updated: 21 Apr 2016 17:36 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The map released by Générations Futures was published on Thursday and is based on where the victims of pesticides are in France.

The aim was to make sure “everyone understands the gravity of the situation” in France.

Numerous studies have linked pesticides to various health problems ranging from cancers to birth defects and hormonal imbalances.

The issue is regularly in the news in France, Europe's top user of pesticides with 80,000 tonnes being sprayed on crops each year.

The map below shows the areas where people have been affected. It was based on the testimonies of hundreds of people who say they have been adversely impacted by pesticides being used near their homes.

The anonymous testimonies included accounts of headaches, fatigue, and coughs, all ailments attributed to the use of pesticides nearby.

The organisation claims scores more are lining up to alert them so there may be many more points to add to the map.

It reveals that much of France is affected by the phenomenon, perhaps hardly surprising given how much of the countryside is dedicated to farming.

CLICK HERE for a more interactive version

Swathes of the centre of France, where agriculture is less important and the populations are lower, appear to have been largely spared. 

The map suggests those living near cereal farms and the country's wine growing areas were at greatest risk, given the reliance on pesticides. 

Victims talked of how farmers in the fields would wear protective masks when spraying their crops with pesticides while on their other side of the fence children would play in their gardens with no protection whatsoever.

"We remained locked in our homes during the spraying hours," said one woman from southwestern France.

Others spoke of how farmers and local authorities refused to listen to their concerns.

“The aim is to show the reality of the impact on professionals and local populations so the government takes the matter seriously,” said spokeswoman for Générations Futures François Veillerette.

She stressed that exposure to pesticides is particularly dangerous for young women and children.

A study earlier this year by the same organisation revealed how up to 30 different pesticides were found in homes near farms that grew vineyards, orchards or cereals.

Another previous study found similar traces of pesticides in the hair of school children in agricultural areas.

Story continues below…

“Everything must be done so that they are not exposed to these products. [Pregnant women and children] are the people that must be protected as a priority, it is a public health issue.”

The organisation claims that the health costs of pesticides around Europe represent around €120 billion.

France's efforts to cut pesticide use have hardly been laudable. Last year the government delayed a plan to lave the use of pesticides by seven years, basically because it wasn't working.

"France had set a voluntary target of halving pesticide use in the decade to 2018 but it has in fact risen," Reuters reported at the time.

The government planned to introduce binding targets to oblige farms to reduce pesticide use, but farmers objected saying their crops would be exposed to disease and insects.


Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France joins fight for rich pickings from post-Brexit UK
Photo: AFP/DcnH/Flickr

France tries to woo EU's bank regulator and other agencies.

How speaking French can really mess up your English
Photo: CollegeDegree360/Flickr

So you've mastered French, but now it's time to learn English all over again.

French claims that Jungle camp is empty are rubbished
Photo: AFP

Reports from the scene say scores of migrants are still in the area of the Jungle despite French authorities claiming "mission fulfilled."

Kidnapped Riviera millionaire left tied up in car boot in Nice
Photo: AFP

Head of luxury Cannes hotel has been found alive after being kidnapped in Nice on Monday.

Paris landlords still charging illegally high rents
Photo: Panoramas/Flickr

... and it's tenants in the smaller apartments that get hit the hardest. Could you be paying too much?

France takes baby steps to make life simpler
Photo: AFP

... including extending the ridiculously short time limit for registering a new baby.

IN PICTURES: Calais Jungle camp goes up in flames
All Photos: AFP

Migrants leave behind a scorched camp as they are moved to locations across France.

French expats in UK suffer Brexit abuse
French ambassador to the UK Sylvie Bermann with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. Photo: AFP

French nationals no longer feel at home in the UK, ambassador says. But Brits in France have been greeted with sympathy since the referendum.

Six to go on trial in France over topless Kate photos
Photo: AFP

The topless pics sparked fury among the royals.

France sees biggest drop in jobless rate for 20 years
Photo: AFP

Good news at last. But it's unlikely to keep President François Hollande in his job.

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available