EU action outside the European Commission on the occasion of Pesticide Action Week 2015. In the video, Sophie Bordères, coordinator of Pesticides Action Week speaks about a recent study which discovered a number of pesticides in her body. MEP Michele Rivasi then speaks about the urgent need for EU action to reduce pesticide use. Séverine Perronnet, a young mother who took part in the photo action then explains the importance of knowing about the impacts of pesticides on pregnant women and their children.
Content on this post is produced by The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL)
Mums and parents-to-be call for reductions in pesticide use
Sophie Bordères, coordinator of Pesticides Action Week, says she has residues of pesticides in her body that should not be there. Earlier this month, Ms Bordères discovered the pesticides contained in her body. She had taken part in a study in which a sample of her hair was analysed by the French association, Génerations Futures. Seven endocrine disrupting pesticides were found in all the hair samples of the 28 women participants in the study (the chemical substances are displayed on posters held up by those taking part in the action). She says that making known these findings can help raise awareness of the health and environmental dangers of pesticides, which is one of the key aims of Pesticides Action Week.
” Traces of several insecticides that are endocrine disrupters were found in a sample of my hair, including pyrethroids and organophosphates ” she says.
The study provided more evidence of widespread human contamination with synthetic chemicals. For those women who plan to become pregnant, the risks are a special concern for the vulnerable fetus in the womb.
Confirmation that the traces of one of the pesticides found in Ms Bordères’s body is considered harmful was very recently underlined by an announcement from the UN’s international cancer research agency (IARC).
Lisette van Vliet, HEAL’s Senior Policy Advisor on Chemicals and Chronic Disease Prevention, says :
“Just last week the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified some of these pesticides as probable carcinogens. So the continual increase in hormone-related diseases, such as cancers of the breast and prostate and diabetes, is not an empty coincidence. We call on the European Commission and EU member countries to protect people’s health by phasing out endocrine disrupting chemicals as soon as possible. This includes the widely used organophosphate pesticide, glyphosate, known by its brand name, Roundup.”
Another study published in March estimated the health bill associated with exposure to endocrine disrupting pesticides at €120 billion per year in the European Union.
Lisette van Vliet, HEAL says that parents need information about the risks. The Danish government already provides women in the reproductive age group with advice on exposure to chemicals but most countries do not. “The European Union should be helping all member state governments to provide this information for future and current parents,” she says.
Meanwhile, HEAL has developed a list of available written and visual materials in different European languages.
Although information is vital, EU policy change is what will significantly minimise human exposure and bring down levels of synthetic chemicals and pesticides in European’s bodies. The 2009 pesticide package included a ban on the sale and use of pesticides that are linked with cancer, DNA mutation or reproductive toxicity and encouraged reductions in pesticide spraying in public spaces, such as parks and around schools and hospitals. However, the legislation required that the European Commission define criteria on endocrine disrupting chemicals if the package were to be fully implemented. Although this was supposed to happen by 2013, it still has not been done.
Europeans’ concerns about chemicals were reflected in a Eurobarometer poll published in September 2014. It showed four in ten Europeans worry about the impact of chemicals on their health.
Pesticide Action Week
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- Video published on 25 Mar 2015 by Health and Environment Alliance.
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