Un monde sans pesticides

Quelles alternatives pour une agriculture sans pesticides ?

  • France Culture, De cause à effets, le magazine de l’environnement par Aurélie Luneau.
  • Avec François Veillerette, Ecologiste miltant, Marie-Hélène Jeuffroy, Directrice de Recherches à l’INRA et Jean-Bernard Lozier, Agriculteur.

Références : LeMonde et iTunes, 27/01/2019.

Monsanto condamné à payer 289 millions de dollars à un jardinier américain atteint d’un cancer

Dewayne Johnson, un jardinier atteint par un cancer du système lymphatique incurable, à la suite de l’utilisation de pesticides du groupe : le roundup et le ranger pro, a gagné son procès

Le tribunal de San Francisco a rendu cette décision la nuit dernière après que le jury populaire ait jugé que c’était bien le Round up et le Ranger pro, pesticides à base de glyphosate utilisé par le jardinier pendant plusieurs années qui ont contribué à la maladie du plaignant.

Mais le jury a également affirmé que Monsanto connaissait la dangerosité de ces produits et a volontairement choisi de ne pas avertir le consommateur de cette dangerosité. Image credit @olbesancenot.

« Générations Futures salue cette décision historique qui reconnait le caractère cancérogène de ces produits à base de glyphosate et la responsabilité de Monsanto dans le fait de les avoir mis sur le marché sans en avertir le consommateur »

déclare François Veillerette, Directeur de Générations Futures.

« Même si Monsanto a fait appel, nous espérons que cette condamnation est la première d’une longue série, aux Etats Unis ou des milliers de procédures similaires ont été lancées, mais aussi en France- avec la famille Grataloup par exemple- et ailleurs dans le monde. Par ailleurs cette décision souligne l’urgence de retirer les pesticides à base de glyphosate du marché ce que nous appelons le gouvernement français à faire au plus vite !»

ajoute-t-il.

Alternatives Methods in Weed Management to the Use of Glyphosate and Other Herbicides

Alternatives to herbicide use in weed management – The case of glyphosate

Introduction

While the use of synthetic pesticides in agriculture might have helped to increase food production, this has not occurred without great costs to human health, the environment and natural resources. The 2017 UN report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to food highlights the adverse impact of pesticide use on human rights, human health (workers, their families, bystanders, residents and consumers) and the environment. The report also reveals that intensive agriculture based on pesticide use has not contributed to reduce world hunger, but rather it has helped to increase the consumption of food and food waste especially in industrialised countries.

Herbicides have been introduced in agriculture (and horticulture) mainly to combat weeds that compete with crops for nutrients and sunlight resulting in reduced crop yield and quality. Other common uses are to eradicate invasive plant species or undesirable plants for livestock farms, to assist the management of public areas, for aesthetic or practical reasons (e.g. sidewalks, pavements and railways) or for weed control in private gardens. In Europe, their use in farming has increased considerably to replace mechanical ploughing, which has been reported to cause soil degradation and soil nutrient loss, in certain geographic zones with high rainfall and specific types of crops, particularly in intensive agriculture (Derpsch, 1998).

There is an overall erroneous perception that herbicides are safe for human health and have little impact on the environment. Based on this misconception, humans have developed agricultural practices and invested in technological development that completely depends on the use of pesticides and herbicides. Many farmers have abandoned more sustainable farming techniques altogether. As a result, every day tonnes of herbicides are released into the environment and their surroundings, which not only put human health at risk, but also interfere with the biological processes of nature and the ecosystem services it offers to combat weeds and other pests naturally. Weeds become resistant, the soil get eroded and infertile, the crop susceptible to pathogens and diseases, and farmers feel obliged to use more pesticides to combat the new pests, and end up trapped in a “pesticide treadmill”.

In a similar manner to other pesticides, herbicide active ingredients are biologically active compounds. They are designed to pass through membranes and diffuse into the interior of living cells to exert the desirable toxic action (Kearney & Kaufman, 1975). Because of their properties, when these substances are used on open fields they will directly affect other non-target species in the area and the surroundings, and through a cascade of ecological interactions will end up affecting biodiversity. Furthermore, these same properties may allow them to interact with living cells of animal species including humans and result in toxicity. Herbicides can also be toxic to soil beneficial microorganisms (Grossbard & Davies, 1976) causing a decline in soil nutrients, fertility and defence systems. This has a direct impact on agriculture, where crops depend on the quality of the soil.

Their use has been so -unnecessarily- intensive that these chemicals have caused a great impact not only on soil health and agricultural production, but also to human health, the environment and its ecosystems. The present report aims to emphasise that we already have all the tools necessary to gradually start building a pesticide-free agricultural model and to confirm that weed control is possible using other means than harmful herbicides. There is an urgent need to develop technological methods of agriculture that do not depend on pesticide use. Using the popular glyphosate-based herbicides as a reference, the current analysis presents a wide variety of weed management approaches, where farmers work together – rather than against – nature and help maintain a high agricultural yield without contaminating the soil, destroying biodiversity and jeopardising human and environmental health. Since glyphosate-based herbicides are non-selective and of broad spectrum, the alternative methods presented in this report can also substitute the use of different herbicide products.

This report also covers topics such as the use of glyphosate in the EU and globally, pesticide sales in the EU, and impacts on soil behaviour and environmental safety, as well as human health.

By integrating the different available agricultural practices (e.g. preventive, agronomic and mechanical methods) with the broad knowledge we have acquired on the biological and ecological characteristics of herbs and plant crops, today farmers are capable of overcoming major agricultural challenges and manage weed growth successfully, maintaining a high agricultural yield, avoiding resistant species, protecting soil biodiversity and erosion, and reducing green-house emissions among others. This report presents and discusses the different alternative agricultural practices to herbicide use in weed control that when combined result in a sustainable weed management. This work was carried out in parallel with the project “Filming farmers across European Union on alternatives to herbicides (with specific reference to glyphosate)”, both being supported by The Greens/EFA of the EU.

More Information
  • Greens/EFA call for glyphosate-free future, greens-efa.eu, 18.10.2017.
  • A fair food and agriculture policy, A two-fold conference, greens-efa.eu, 18.10.2017.
  • Alternatives to herbicide use in weed management – The case of glyphosate, greens-efa.eu, 10.2017.

Thirty people tested discover the omnipresence of Glyphosate in their bodies

French NGO Générations Futures finds 100% people tested in France are exposed to glyphosate

To what extent are the French exposed to glyphosate – the world’s best-selling herbicide? generations-futures, 6 April 2017.

Image © credit Claire Robert.

Paris/Brussels, 6 April 2017 – Thirty human “guinea-pigs” entrusted samples of their urine to Générations Futures for testing for traces of the famous glyphosate, one of the active molecules in the herbicide, RoundUp®.

The results? All 100% of the samples contain residues of this herbicide, which is a “probable carcinogen” according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

Context

Glyphosate is the world’s most widely used active ingredient in herbicides. In March 2015, a few months before the European authorisation of glyphosate was due to expire, experts at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified glyphosate as a “probable human carcinogen”. EU regulations prohibit the use of pesticides that are classified as carcinogens or probable carcinogens. However, EU regulations refer to EU classification for carcinogenicity not to that of IARC.

Originally, when the authorisation of glyphosate expired, the European Commission proposed allowing its sale for a further 14 years. But this proposition, which was widely criticised by NGOs and civil society, did not receive the support of the Member States. In the end, the Commission was obliged to extend the approval for only 18 months and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) was asked to publish an opinion on the safety of glyphosate the spring of this year. On 15 March 2017, a summary of this opinion was published clearing glyphosate of any carcinogenic risk for humans! The ball is now in the European Commission’s court as it will soon make a new proposal to the Member States.

The survey

It is against this backdrop that Générations Futures wanted to learn more about the extent to which the French are exposed to this widely used herbicide. We chose to carry out a urine analysis of 30 people, including men and women between the ages of eight and 60 years old, living in the city and in the countryside and with a varied diet, organic and non-organic, vegetarian and non-vegetarian. A certain number of well-known people agreed to participate. Analysis was carried out with help of an ELISA test.

Results?

Our investigation demonstrates the omnipresence of this dangerous molecule in our bodies.

  • 100% of the samples analysed contained glyphosate at a concentration above the lowest limit of quantification (LoQ = 0.075ng/ml).
  • The average concentration of glyphosate found in the samples was 1.25 ng/ml urine.
  • The sample with the lowest value was at 0.09 ng/ml and the highest value was 2.89 ng/ml, which is 32.11 times higher than the lowest value.
  • Twenty-nine of the 30 samples (96.66%) contained concentrations that were above the maximum allowable pesticide concentration in water (0.1 ng/ml).

“Unfortunately, these tests confirmed what we feared having consulted surveys undertaken elsewhere in Europe and around the world: we are all contaminated with glyphosate. It is indeed time for the European authorities to become aware of the urgency to act, and to finally forbid this molecule considered likely to be carcinogenic to humans by the International Agency for Research on Cancer!”

says Francois Veillerette, spokesperson for Générations Futures.

“Not all the cards are played yet. We can still stop the authorisation of this substance. We therefore invite citizens to take action and join the 500,000 Europeans who have already signed the European Citizens’ Initiative calling for the banning of this dangerous molecule,”

he concludes.

The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) is also calling for a ban on glyphosate. Génon K. Jensen, Executive Director at the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) says:

“This study shows that all those tested in France have been exposed to glyphosate. This means that, in all likelihood, all Europeans are contaminated – potentially elevating everyone’s risk of cancer. “The evidence against glyphosate is piling up all the time. National governments face the decision at the end of this year whether to continue allowing glyphosate in Europe. We urge everyone to tell their governments to put preventing cancers first.”

Contacts
Générations Fuures EXPPERT Surveys
  1. EXPPERT Survey 1: Which endocrine disrupting insecticides are children exposed to everyday? Press release, Brussels, 25 March 2013.
  2. EXPPERT Survey 2: Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals and banned Pesticides in strawberries. Press release, 25 March 2013.
  3. EXPPERT Survey 3: How are children exposed to Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals?Press release, 9 July 2014.
  4. EXPPERT Survey 4: Nineteen endocrine disrupting pesticides found in samples of women’s hair. Press release, 12 March 2015. Our blog.
  5. EXPPERT Survey 5: Pesticides that are banned or suspected to be EDCs are found in green salads. Press release, 22 September 2015. Our blog.
  6. EXPPERT Survey 6: Homes close to pesticide spraying show all year exposure. Press release, 1 March 2016. Our blog.
  7. EXPPERT Survey 7: Exposure to endocrine-disrupting pesticides. What are the exposures in daily life? Press release, 11 October 2016. Our blog.
  8. EXPPERT Survey 8: Exposure to endocrine-disrupting pesticides in water. Press release, 8 January 2017. Our blog.
  9. EXPPERT Survey 9: Seven French celebrities discover their contamination from endocrine disruptors. Press release, 24 February 2017. Our blog.

Seven famous ecologists discover their contamination from endocrine disruptors

100% of the personalities have traces of Bisphenols, PCBs, pesticides and phthalates

Générations Futures EXPPERT survey number 9 provides the results of tests for the presence of suspected or known endocrine disruptors in hair samples of some leading environmentalists in France. The worrying and conclusive results are the basis for a further call to the European Commission to improve its proposal on criteria for identifying endocrine disrupting chemicals ahead of a possible vote by EU Member States on 28 February 2017.

Paris, Brussels, 24 February 2017 – Seven environmentalists in France have their hair analysed for traces of endocrine disrupting chemicals. Generations Futures, with the support of HEAL and other members of the EDC-Free Europe coalition, published a new report yesterday, the 9th survey of the EXPPERT series on population exposure to chemicals that are suspected or known to disrupt the endocrine system. The results are unchallengeable!

Who?
In this new survey, Générations Futures asked personalities from the environmental movement to entrust to us a lock of their hair, which we had analysed by a competent laboratory. The participants were Yann Arthus-Bertrand, Isabelle Autissier, Delphine Batho, José Bové, Nicolas Hulot, Yannick Jadot and Marie-Monique Robin.

What?
Approximately 200 pesticides (products used in agriculture and in the home to get rid of “harmful” or “undesirable” flora and fauna) and pesticide metabolites (resulting from metabolism), three bisphenols (plasticiser used in the composition of the polycarbonate – hard plastic), 13 phthalates and metabolites of phthalates (plasticisers used to soften plastics) and 32 PCB congeners (PCBs have been banned since 1987 but were used massively in electric transformers and as heat transfer fluid.).

Results?
100% of the personalities has traces of each of the families of compounds analysed in their bodies!

- – We discover between 36 (D. Batho) and 68 (I. Autissier) endocrine disrupters per personality. The quantities varied from 9 031 μg/mg of endocrine disrupting chemical (D. Batho) to 158 643 μg/mg (I. Autism) – a discrepancy factor of 17.5 times between the least contaminated person (D. Batho) and the most contaminated person (I. Autissier). This clearly shows that individual’s exposure is not uniform but rather varies considerably according to the environment in which they circulate and/or in which they have developed and lived.

- Bisphenols:
All the personalities tested had at least one of the three bisphenols in their hair. Three out of the seven people tested had the renowned Bisphenol A in their hair: M-M. Robin, Y. Arthus-Bertrand and I. Autissier. All 7 had Bisphenol S but none had signs of Bisphenol F.

- Phthalates:
11 of the 13 phthalates or metabolites of phthalates tested for were found at least in one person. Neither MMP or DPP were found in any sample. The number of phthalates and metabolites of phthalates found ranged from eight to 11 depending on the individual. Between six and 10 of these molecules could be quantified in each person.

- PCBs:
All samples that could be analysed contained PCBs: between 14 and 30 PCBs were found in participants’ samples.

- Pesticides:
32 molecules suspected of being endocrine disruptors or endocrine disrupting metabolites were found in at least one person. Between nine and 25 of these pesticides were found in each hair sample tested.

“The hair of the personalities tested all contain an important cocktail of many endocrine disruptors (between 36 and 68 per person) although tests were only carried out on four families of chemicals. And these cocktails pose a problem – what is the health impact of this mixture?”

says Francois Veillerette, Director of Générations Futures.

“This report points out more than ever the need to remove endocrine disrupting substances from our environment. Only a truly protective definition within the European framework will ensure that endocrine disruptors are excluded from the market and protect populations from these hazardous compounds. That is why the vote on the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (SCOPAFF) on 28 February is so important! We urge all national governments to reject the European Commission’s proposal on the criteria for endocrine disrupting chemicals in its current form and insist on major changes to ensure that proven, probable or suspected endocrine disruptors to which we are exposed are identified as such. Only in this way will these chemicals be prohibited from use as required in the European legislation voted in 2009, to protect our health.”

he concluded.

Contacts
EXPPERT Surveys
  1. EXPPERT Survey 1: Which endocrine disrupting insecticides are children exposed to everyday? Press release, Brussels, 25 March 2013.
  2. EXPPERT Survey 2: Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals and banned Pesticides in strawberries. Press release, 25 March 2013.
  3. EXPPERT Survey 3: How are children exposed to Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals? Press release, 9 July 2014.
  4. EXPPERT Survey 4: Nineteen endocrine disrupting pesticides found in samples of women’s hair. Press release, 12 March 2015. Our blog.
  5. EXPPERT Survey 5: Pesticides that are banned or suspected to be EDCs are found in green salads. Press release, 22 September 2015. Our blog.
  6. EXPPERT Survey 6: Homes close to pesticide spraying show all year exposure. Press release, 1 March 2016. Our blog.
  7. EXPPERT Survey 7: Exposure to endocrine-disrupting pesticides. What are the exposures in daily life? Press release, 11 October 2016. Our blog.
  8. EXPPERT Survey 8: Exposure to endocrine-disrupting pesticides in water. Press release, 8 January 2017. Our blog.
  9. EXPPERT Survey 9: Seven French celebrities discover their contamination from endocrine disruptors. Press release, 24 February 2017. Our blog.

Perturbateurs endocriniens : tous intoxiqués?

Les nouveaux poisons de notre quotidien

Enquête de santé, Allo Docteurs France 5, 01/02/2017.

Un documentaire / débat diffusé le 31 janvier 2017 sur France 5.

Documentaire

Débat

Les perturbateurs endocriniens, substances chimiques, sont présentes dans de nombreux objets de consommation courante : plastiques, résidus de pesticides sur les fruits et légumes, OGM, cosmétiques, lunettes, semelles de chaussures… Ils interagissent avec le système hormonal et seraient responsables de l’augmentation de certains cancers, selon des associations impliquées dans les problèmes de santé liés à l’environnement.

Sur le même sujet

Le Distilbène, Perturbateur Endocrinien

Endocrine disrupting pesticides in tap and surface water

EXPPERT Survey 8 – Exposure to endocrine-disrupting pesticides in water

Générations Futures EXPPERT survey 8 uses government reports on water quality in France as the basis for an analysis of the extent to which endocrine-disrupting pesticides and their byproducts can be found in French tap water. A European law banning endocrine disrupting pesticides came into effect years ago but has not been implemented because the European Commission has delayed proposing the needed scientific criteria to identify endocrine disruptors. Now, EU Member Countries are expected to take a final decision on a European Commission proposal this spring.

Paris, Brussels, 13 January 2017 – The report published today on endocrine disrupting chemicals in water in France is the eighth part of the EXPPERT survey. EXPPERT stands for Exposure to endocrine-disrupting pesticides.

Context

In July 2016, the French Ministry of Social Affairs and Health published its report, “Bilan de la qualité de l’eau au robinet du consommateur vis-à-vis des pesticides en 2014” (Assessment of the quality of tap water with regard to pesticides in 2014). In 2014, The Ministry of Ecology published its survey, “Pesticides les plus quantifiés dans les cours d’eau et dans les eaux souterraines en 2013” (The most frequently quantified pesticides in surface water and groundwater in 2013).

While these reports inform us about the presence of pesticides in water, they do not actually provide the toxicological properties of the molecules identified, and notably for those pollutants that could be endocrine disrupting chemicals.

Générations Futures’ work

Générations Futures carried out an analysis, which had never previously been conducted. The aim was to know whether any of the pesticide residues, or the byproducts from the degradation of these pesticides, covered in the investigations cited above, were potential endocrine disrupting molecules.

Our analysis identified molecules that are potentially disruptive to the endocrine system.

The following results, which are detailed in the EXPPERT 8 report, were obtained. They unfortunately show that:

  • 73.3% – that is, 11 out of the 15 most frequently quantified pesticides (or their degradation byproducts) in surface water in metropolitan France in 2013 are suspected of being endocrine disruptors.
  • 53.3% – that is eight out of the 15 molecules classified as the most frequently quantified pesticides (or their degradation byproducts) in groundwater in metropolitan France in 2013 are suspected of being endocrine disruptors.
  • Tap water: 50% – that is, 18 out of 36 pesticides (or their degradation byproducts), which were the reason that the water was classified as not conforming to standards in 2014 (either as NC1 – without restriction or NC2 – with restriction) for more than one unit of distribution of drinking water (UDI), are suspected of being endocrine disruptors.

Why this report?

As a reminder, on Wednesday 21 December 2016 (following a delay of three years), the European Commission attempted to have its new proposals on the criteria for endocrine disrupters voted. This would provide the basis for endocrine disruptors to be excluded from the market under the pesticides and biocides legislation. In November, Générations Futures had condemned the Commission’s proposals as unacceptable because they required a level of proof that was almost impossible to attain. The proposal also provided for a derogation in the event of “negligible risk” to humans. The Commission even added a new gift to industry in its proposal of 21 December by introducing – at the last moment and for the first time – the scandalous possibility of a derogation from the ban on endocrine disruptors. But events did not take place exactly as the Commission would have wished. Many Member States (including France and Sweden) opposed the proposal. The Commission found that it could not even hope for 40% support. The vote was therefore postponed until the spring.

“By bringing out one report after another, our association continues to sound the alert about the exposure of populations, especially the most vulnerable, to endocrine disruptors. This new report demonstrates again the urgency for action and the need to remove endocrine disrupting pesticides from the market,”

says Francois Veillerette, Director of Générations Futures.

“The EU has a unique opportunity to show that it truly cares about the health of its fellow citizens by proposing genuinely protective criteria for defining endocrine disrupting chemicals. That is not the nature of its current proposal. We urge all national governments to demand from the European Commission a serious proposal with a reasonable level of proof and without derogations to exclude suspected endocrine-disrupting pesticides,”

he concluded.

Contacts

EXPPERT Surveys
  1. EXPPERT Survey 1: Which endocrine disrupting insecticides are children exposed to everyday? Press release, Brussels, 25 March 2013.
  2. EXPPERT Survey 2: Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals and banned Pesticides in strawberries. Press release, 25 March 2013.
  3. EXPPERT Survey 3: How are children exposed to Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals? Press release, 9 July 2014.
  4. EXPPERT Survey 4: Nineteen endocrine disrupting pesticides found in samples of women’s hair. Press release, 12 March 2015. Our blog.
  5. EXPPERT Survey 5: Pesticides that are banned or suspected to be EDCs are found in green salads. Press release, 22 September 2015. Our blog.
  6. EXPPERT Survey 6: Homes close to pesticide spraying show all year exposure. Press release, 1 March 2016. Our blog.
  7. EXPPERT Survey 7: Exposure to endocrine-disrupting pesticides. What are the exposures in daily life? Press release, 11 October 2016. Our blog.
  8. EXPPERT Survey 8: Exposure to endocrine-disrupting pesticides in water. Press release, 11 October 2016. Our blog.

Endocrine Disruptors: The Discreet but Major Gift to the Pesticides Lobby

The European Commission submited its proposal for regulation of chemical substances on 21.12.2016

This article by Stéphane Horel was originally published by Le Monde on December 20. This translated version published by EDC-Free Europe.  This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Image thecvopros.

It’s a paragraph that does not look like anything, added at the bottom of the document at the last minute. In a tortuous and impenetrable formulation, it refers to a derogation for products acting on the “moulting and / or growth of harmful organisms”. But, reformulated in common language, it is no more or less a concession from the European Commission to the pesticide lobby.

A few days before Christmas, Wednesday 21 December, three years late, the Commission is due to submit to a vote its proposed regulation on endocrine disruptors, these ubiquitous chemicals capable of interfering with the hormonal system of living beings at sometimes tiny doses. This proposal is supposed to implement a very strict provision of the European regulation on pesticides: the ban on pesticides that will be recognized as endocrine disruptors.

It is therefore the criteria that allow them to be identified which the Commission has drawn up and which the representatives of the Member States must adopt or reject. The vote will be held in the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Safety after six months of negotiations.

If the devil is hiding in the details, the paragraph inserted by the Commission at the last minute is anything but anecdotal. While the “pesticides regulation” requires removing endocrine disruptors from the market, the paragraph creates a derogation from identification for a whole group of pesticides that have the particularity of … being endocrine disruptors. Indeed some pesticides wipe out insects or plants known as “pests” to crops by acting on their hormonal system to block their moulting or growth. In other words, these are pesticides that have been designed to be endocrine disruptors. Rather than using this knowledge to identify and prohibit them, the Commission proposes that they be spared.

Request from the trio BASF, Bayer and Syngenta

This major derogation is in fact an old request of the pesticide industry. It was developed by the trio of pesticide manufacturers who will be most affected by the regulation: the German giant BASF (the world leader in chemistry) and Bayer (being merged with Monsanto) and the Swiss group Syngenta. In a document dated 2013, employees of these groups argue for a “derogation” for what they refer to as “endocrine disruptors by design”:

Strictly speaking, such compounds would fulfil the endocrine disruptor definition as their endocrine mechanism and adverse population-relevant effects are intended and well-described.  (…) Consequently, an exemption category for these chemicals should be defined.. ”

The new paragraph resembles in an unmistakable way the article written by employees of pesticide manufacturers.

But the exemption is problematic for living beings, which could be affected by these endocrine disrupting pesticides, from plants to ladybugs, passing by nearby squirrels,  that is all those that the law calls “non-target organisms” but are also equipped with a hormonal system liable to be hijacked by these products.

Weed killer classified as “possible human carcinogen

While there is no assessment of the consequences of this clause on the ecosystem, it will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the industry. According to information gathered by Le Monde, this exception would correspond to about 15 insecticides and a handful of herbicides including 2,4-D, a herbicide that has also been classified as a “possible human carcinogen” by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in 2015.

According to the calculations made by the NGO Générations futures, the derogation concerns more than 8 700 tonnes of commercial products per year, just for France. Francois Veillerette, the spokesperson of the NGO, is indignant:

“It is aberrant in a regulation that wants to remove endocrine disruptors to protect the ecosystem.”

This request doesn’t come from us but from the German authorities”, said Graeme Taylor, director of public affairs for the European Crop Protection Association (ECPA). The lobbying organization of the pesticide industry rejected the Commission’s proposal “as a whole”, considering that it “does not go far enough”.

Uncertain majority, proposal cut in half

Uncertain to get a majority on Wednesday, the European Commission cut off its contested proposal in two. The first scientific part contains an environmental component, including this new derogation, and a human health component, which is also the subject of strong criticism from the relevant scientific community, NGOs and certain Member States, including France.

They all denounced the inadequacy of the text to protect the population from diseases linked to exposure to endocrine disruptors (cancers, brain development problems, infertility, diabetes, etc.).

The second part of the proposal, on regulatory aspects, also contains a substantial derogation. If kept, the risks posed by endocrine disrupting pesticides would be assessed on a case-by-case basis after being placed on the market, whereas the law requires their a priori prohibition. This part is not only considered illegal by the European Parliament, NGOs and certain countries, but Le Monde revealed at the end of November, with supporting documents, that it was based on conclusions written in advance by an official European agency.

“These proposals are unacceptable and they do not respond to growing public concern or mobilization for genuine action that would reduce the presence of endocrine disruptors in our daily lives”,

said the coalition of NGOs EDC- Free Europe. An online petition from SumOfUs, calling to reject the proposal, has collected more than 260,000 signatures.

At the highest political level in Europe, where “good work” is considered to have been done, it is argued that there was a “scientific controversy” about endocrine disruptors to deal with. Yet a hundred respected scientists have warned decision-makers against a “manufacturing of doubt” financed by industries whose commercial interests are threatened, in the manner of the oil industry with climate change (Le Monde, November 30). Facts that a European official sweeps away, however, as “conspiracy theories”.

What happened on the 21.12.2016

MORE INFORMATION

The Investigation
    1. The Manufacture of a Lie.
    2. A Denial of the State of the Science.
    3. The Interference of the United States.
    4. The Discreet but Major Gift to the Pesticides Lobby.

 

Endocrine Disruptors

Do breakfast cereals contain endocrine-disrupting pesticides?

EXPPERT Survey 7 – EDCs pesticides exposure ; what are the exposures in daily life?

The worrying results of Générations Futures EXPPERT survey 7 on a breakfast food, muesli, show the ubiquity of cocktails of hormone disrupting chemicals, also known as endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) in the everyday environment. The findings highlight the need for the EU Commission to revise its recently proposed criteria to identify EDCs so that they become effective in protecting health.

Paris, Brussels, 11 October 2016 – The EXPPERT 7 report addresses exposure to EDCs in food eaten at breakfast, a meal considered essential. Food is one of the most important routes of exposure for anyone who is not regularly using pesticides.

The survey represents the seventh part in the EXPPERT series (EXposition aux Pesticides PERTurbateurs endocriniens) on endocrine-disrupting pesticides. It is an initiative of Générations Futures, France, in partnership with the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) and Pesticides Action Network Europe (PAN E).

EDC pesticides
EDCs are natural or artificial substances that are foreign to the human body. Exposure to these chemicals can interfere with the endocrine system and induce many adverse effects on an individual or on a person’s children or grandchildren. Many pesticides or biocides are either proven or strongly suspected to be EDCs.

Act now
To demonstrate the urgency of preventive action in the field of endocrine disruption, Générations Futures has produced a series of reports based on surveys and research analyses showing the omnipresence of many endocrine disruptors in our environment, which results in significant human exposure (these are the EXPPERT reports).

A targeted report
The 7th Exppert Report looks at one of the most important ways people who are not pesticide users get exposed: through food. Breakfast should meet a quarter of the body’s daily energy needs. This meal should include cereals, mixtures of which can be found in muesli. Générations Futures therefore focused on this popular consumer product – buying and analysing 15 packets of non-organic and five packets of organic cereal or muesli with fruit (or similar additions).

Results

100 percent of samples from the 15 non-organic products contained pesticide residues, including traces of suspected endocrine disrupting substances. None of the samples from the five organic packets contained pesticide residues.

Some figures:

  • In the 15 samples from non-organic packets tested, 141 residues were found, out of which the concentrations of 70 could be quantified. Of these 141 residues, 81 are suspected EDCs, equivalent to 57.44 percent of the total.
  • On average, 9.4 residues were found in the non-organic samples (the sample having the most residues contained 14 and those with the least had six). The non-organic samples had an average of 4.6 residues from suspected endocrine disrupting pesticides.
  • Of the 70 non organic samples that could be quantified, the average concentration of residues was 0.177 mg/kg per sample. This level is 354 times higher than the maximum allowable concentration (MAC) tolerated in drinking water for all pesticides!

“Each new report by our association has demonstrated the urgency to act. These findings again reveal population exposure to too many pesticide residues that are suspected of being endocrine disruptors, which can act at very low doses,”

says Francois Veillerette, spokesperson for Générations Futures.

“In June, the EU Commission announced its proposed criteria for determining EDCs but this definition is far from what is needed to protect the population’s health. The ubiquity of cocktails of EDCs in the environment is confirmed by this report. The findings must be taken into account by the EU Commission, which should revise its criteria to make them truly protective,”

he concludes.

Contacts
EXPPERT Surveys
  1. EXPPERT Survey 1: Which endocrine disrupting insecticides are children exposed to everyday? Press release, Brussels, 25 March 2013.
  2. EXPPERT Survey 2: Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals and banned Pesticides in strawberries. Press release, 25 March 2013.
  3. EXPPERT Survey 3: How are children exposed to Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals? Press release, 9 July 2014.
  4. EXPPERT Survey 4: Nineteen endocrine disrupting pesticides found in samples of women’s hair. Press release, 12 March 2015. Our blog.
  5. EXPPERT Survey 5: Pesticides that are banned or suspected to be EDCs are found in green salads. Press release, 22 September 2015. Our blog.
  6. EXPPERT Survey 6: Homes close to pesticide spraying show all year exposure. Press release, 1 March 2016. Our blog.
  7. EXPPERT Survey 7: Exposure to endocrine-disrupting pesticides. What are the exposures in daily life? Press release, 11 October 2016. Our blog.

Homes close to pesticide spraying show all year exposure

People living close to cultivated areas are exposed at home all the year round and to a significant cocktail of pesticides, many of which are potential endocrine disruptors

The worrying results of Générations Futures EXPPERT survey 6 (dust analysis) show the urgent need to implement decisions taken under the European regulation on pesticides and within the French national strategy on endocrine disruptors.

Homes close to pesticide spraying show all year exposure, generations-futures, 1 March 2016.

To demonstrate the urgency of strong preventive action in regard to endocrine disruptors – substances that threaten the developing fetus and young children even at low doses – Générations Futures, a HEAL partner and member in France, decided to undertake a series of monitoring reports. These are based on detailed analyzes showing the omnipresence of a number of endocrine disrupting pesticides in our environment leading to significant exposure of the population. This series is called EXPPERT (an abbreviation for “Exposure to pesticides that are endocrine disruptors” in French).

Générations Futures wanted to know more about exposure to pesticides among those living close to where spraying takes place because these people are particularly vulnerable. Some of the pesticides are suspected to be endocrine disruptors. The survey therefore addressed whether people living in agricultural areas using synthetic chemicals in cultivation (in vineyards and orchards and on fields) were permanently exposed to pesticides even in their homes. It also asked whether this exposure included substances suspected of being endocrine disruptors and whether exposure varied according to the season.

Investigation

Twenty-two dust samples were collected in July 2015. (Although 24 samples were taken from different homes taking part, two samples were unsuitable for laboratory testing.) In January 2016, an additional five samples were taken in homes that had taken part in the summer collection.

Six of the houses involved are situated in wine-growing areas, five are near orchards, eight are near field crops and the remaining three are in areas bordering on a mixture of these cultivations. Tests were undertaken for 61 different pesticides.

Results: a pesticides dust bath

The results went beyond all expectations:

  • Each home is exposed. Analysis of the dust samples showed that each contained between eight and 30 pesticides
  • On average, 60% of the pesticides detected are potential endocrine disruptors. The average number of pesticides per home is almost 20 pesticides and almost 12 are potential endocrine disruptors (60.18%)
  • Pesticides that are possible endocrine disruptors made up a very large proportion of the pesticide exposure. Specifically, 17.3 mg of an average of 17.6 mg of pesticides quantified per kg of dust were found to be potential endocrine disruptors (98.16% of the total)
  • Three products are found in all (100%) of samples. They are
    • permethrin,
    • tebuconazole
    • and dimethomorph).

Among the pesticides identified, some have been banned in agriculture in France for several years. For example, Diuron, or DCMU (3-(3,4-dichlorophenyl)-1,1-dimethylurea), which is found in over 90% of homes was banned in France in December 2008.

In summer and in winter

The total amount of all pesticides quantified decreased in the winter. Levels of different pesticides were between 30% and 95% lower than in the summer. In a sense, it is reassuring that the concentrations decrease. On the other hand, it is worrying that the exposure to these pesticides appears to exist throughout the entire year.

“These results clearly show that people living close to cultivated areas are exposed at home all the year round and to a significant cocktail of pesticides, many of which are potential endocrine disruptors. This fact illustrates the urgent need to change agricultural practices and to ensure that the spraying of synthetic pesticides is prohibited near areas where people live,”

says François Veillerette,
Générations Futures’ spokesperson. He adds:

“Our work also underlines the urgent need for the announcement of a definition of endocrine disruptors in order to provide real protection at European level. We call on the French government to put strong pressure on the European Commission so that this widespread exposure to endocrine disrupting pesticides in our countryside can be stopped tomorrow.”

Contacts
  • François Veillerette, Générations Futures, tel: 00 33 6 81 64 65 58. Email
  • Nadine Lauverjat, Générations Futures, tel: 00 33 6 87 56 27 54. Email
  • Diana Smith, Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), tel: 00 33 6 33 04 2943. Email
Notes

Enquête EXPPERT 6 (analyses de poussières) : des riverains de zones cultivées exposés aux pesticides perturbateurs endocriniens chez eux, tout au long de l’année!”, EXPPERT Survey 6: Read the full report online in French. It includes the analysis of dust samples from both the summer and winter test done by the laboratory, Kudzu Science. Press release in French.

Other materials available in English
  • EXPPERT Survey 1: Which endocrine disrupting insecticides are children exposed to everyday? Press release, Brussels, 25 March 2013
  • EXPPERT Survey 2: Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals and banned Pesticides in strawberries Press release, 25 March 2013
  • EXPPERT Survey 3: How are children exposed to Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals? Press release, 9 July 2014
  • EXPPERT Survey 4: Nineteen endocrine disrupting pesticides found in samples of women’s hair Press release, 12 March 2015
  • EXPPERT Survey 5: Pesticides that are banned or suspected to be EDCs are found in green salads Press release, 22 September 2015