Paris health authorities issue warning over eggs from garden-reared chickens

The Local France
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Paris health authorities issue warning over eggs from garden-reared chickens
A hen walks in its chicken pen (Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP)

Citing high concentrations of pollutants from samples across the region, health authorities for Paris region of Île-de-France are advising against eating eggs from garden hens or urban farms in the region.


People living in the Paris region should avoid consuming eggs from the hens in their own gardens or local urban farms, the Regional Health Agency warned, citing pollution concerns.

In a press release published on Wednesday, the agence régionale de santé (ARS) advised inhabitants of Île-de-France to no longer eat eggs and other animal products from 'domestic production' sources. 

The ARS conducted a study, taking samples from 25 'domestic poultry homes'. 14 of the samples were taken from chicken coops located near the waste incinerators of Ivry-sur-Seine, Issy-les-Moulineaux, and Saint Ouen, while 11 were taken from far away parts of the region.

The warning made no mention of any health danger in buying eggs at supermarkets in the Paris region.

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The health agency revealed their first results on Wednesday, explaining that "all samples showed contamination with three families of organic pollutants: dioxins, furans and PCBs".

Dioxins and furans are organic pollutants that are typically created via waste combustion (eg. incineration of household or green waste), or by some industrial processes, like the bleaching of paper pulp. 

As for PCBs, these organic pollutants can also be released by incinerators, but primarily arrive in the environment due to their former uses in urban areas for adhesives, oils and paints. Products containing PCBs have been prohibited in France.

Two of the samples (those from locations within 3km from an incinerator) reportedly had pollution levels 40 to 50 times higher than European regulatory thresholds, and eggs from the region were found to contain particularly high levels of PCB pollutants.


The ARS explained that regular consumption of "food contaminated by dioxins and and PCBs leads to a progressive contamination of the body," which can have harmful health impacts in the long term, including increased risk of cancer, fertility and pregnancy disorders and diabetes.

Non-profit organisations, such as the group 3R (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle), had already signalled that eggs from domestic hens in the Paris region contained concerning levels of pollutants.

So far, the press release only contains initial results, and as of Wednesday, the body had not yet found a conclusive explanation for why and how poultry in the Ile-de-France region had become contaminated. 

A full report will be made available to the public at the end of June. 


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