Here is a new study whose results risk reviving the explosive debate on the exposure to pesticides of residents of agricultural areas. They confirm, in the field, that the minimum spreading distances retained by the government (3 meters, 5 meters, 10 meters and more exceptionally 20 meters) are largely insufficient to protect them. At the initiative of the Générations futures association, a participatory campaign to measure pesticides in the air (Exporip) was organized between April and October in the homes of 58 volunteers, spread over 26 departments. It made it possible to obtain 58 samples using an original method: a sample from the window of the accommodation, using a wipe. The analysis of the samples was entrusted to the independent laboratory Yootest.
Thirty of the most widely used pesticides were researched. For technical and cost reasons, substances such as glyphosate or folpel (widely used in vines against downy mildew) could not be detected. Fifteen pesticides were detected at least once: nine fungicides, five herbicides and one insecticide. Residues were identified in almost 80% of the samples. Their occurrence varies according to the distance between houses and crops: pesticides are identified in 95% of samples taken within 20 meters; the proportion is almost the same between 20 and 100 meters (90%); it drops to 50% beyond 100 meters.
The same trend is observed if we look at the number of different pesticides found per sample: 3.1 on average within 20 meters, 2.6 between 20 and 100 meters and 1.2 beyond 100 meters. The vast majority (73%) of samples without trace of pesticide residues were taken from windows located more than 100 meters from crops. In terms of concentration, finally, the median value between 20 meters and 100 meters is comparable, and even slightly higher, to that for dwellings within 20 meters of a crop.
A very strong fungicide and herbicide
Another indication of the study: the results vary according to the nature of the crops. Pesticides are thus more frequently detected near vines (94%) than near field crops (73%). They also show a prevalence of fungicides among people living near vines and of herbicides in homes located near major crops (wheat, corn, barley, rapeseed, sunflower, etc.), which is consistent with the uses linked to these crops. In terms of concentrations, the levels found near the vines (489 ng / m² in median value) are also higher than those measured near arable crops.
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