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Future generations show the need for increased diffusion distances

According to the conclusion of a participatory study, keeping local residents 20 m away from crops treated with pesticides is not enough to limit exposure. The Future Generations Association recommends increasing this distance to 100 meters

The Future Generations Association is releasing, on November 25, the results of a multi-month participatory field study titled EXPORIP (On Pesticide Exposure of Local Residents). His conclusion is simple: the regulatory distance must be increased for the spread of phytosanitary products. According to his statistics, significant pesticide residues are found on the windows of residents even 100 meters or more away from various crops.

15 out of 30 pesticides were recorded at least once

Based on the analysis of NGO samples, collected by 58 participants living in 26 departments, conducted by Yootest, an independent laboratory specializing in air quality. Residents were encouraged by Future Generation to provide themselves with a sampling kit (equipped with a simple wipe, to pass through a window looking out) and to send it in for analysis, in addition to a questionnaire to establish information useful for distance, home context and categorization by culture type. . Thirty pesticides, most commonly used in France, were analyzed by Yootest – with the exception of glyphosate, which requires a more expensive separate analytical process, and Folpel, whose substance would affect the reliability of the measurement.

Pesticide incidence detected in the Exporip study for distances between window and crop less than 20 m (purple), 21 m to 100 m (blue) and more than 101 m (green).
© Yootest

In total, about 80% of the samples revealed the presence of at least one pesticide from the list, sometimes more than a kilometer away. Fluctuations in concentration “A few tens of nanograms per square meter (ng/m2) and 0.1 mg/m2which constitutes a very important concentration.”, noted Vincent Paynet, the laboratory’s scientific manager. On average, two pesticides were detected in more than 40% of cases: ametoctradin, considered a reprotoxin, and metolachlor, one of eleven substances. “Proven or Suspected Endocrine Disrupting Effects” Furthermore, the most affected residents are those who live near viticulture: 94.4% of such samples contain at least one pesticide residue. Participants near arable crops, for their part, collected traces of these products in 73% of cases.

The distance should be increased

“A trend is emerging which shows that the average exposure to pesticides in our sample in the areas zero to twenty meters from the crop and 21 and 100 meters from the crop seems to be quite comparable”, Emphasizes François Veillerette, spokesperson for the NGO. Almost 95% of samples taken at less than 20 m showed at least one pesticide trace (versus an average of three), and 90% up to 100 m. In comparison, only 50% of the windows of local residents living more than 100 meters from the crop were affected by pesticide spraying.

A distance of 100 m appears to have a very clear effect in reducing pesticide exposure

Francois Veilleret, Future Generations

These preliminary results therefore argue for the establishment of a truly effective treatment-free zone, much larger than the five to ten meters currently envisaged.François Veillerette concludes. The 100m distance, which has long been requested by Future Generation and many NGOs, seems to have a very clear impact on reducing exposure to pesticides. The government is currently working on rewriting the legal texts related to the regulation of Non-Treatment Zones (ZNT). He was summoned by the state council last July following an appeal filed by the cited NGOs. As a reminder, the rules initially set a minimum distance of 5 to 10 meters from the house, depending on the crop, or 20 meters for those of greatest concern to human health.

A summary report of the “Exporip” study and its conclusions were sent to the competent ministry, the National Agency for Health Protection (ANSES), the National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSARM) as well as Public Health France. Future Generation and Yootest are already planning to renew their survey in 2022, so that “to evaluate the evolution of the registered levels and give (their) results more statistical power”.

Article published on November 25, 2021


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