A most worrying question has been raised for several months following a joint study by the newspaper Le Monde and France 2 : is tap water polluted by pesticides? Is there a health risk for the 8 out of 10 French people who drink tap water?
Indeed, for some time articles on the quality of tap water in France have been flourishing and many studies indicate that our drinking water is potentially contaminated.
For many consumers, the ARS, the regional health agency, takes samples every year to analyze the compliance of our tap water and protect us from danger.
If so, what could have triggered so many warnings about the quality of the water we drink?
Concern has spread since the ARS changed regulatory thresholds, allowing potentially dangerous water to be slightly above tolerance thresholds.
To put it simply, the thresholds have been reassessed in order to make the waters analyzed of compliant quality.
For example, ANSES has studied the toxicity of metabolites S-metolachlor ESA And S-metolachlor NOA , from an active substance herbicide used since 2005, particularly in the cultivation of maize.
Their maximum authorized threshold has automatically increased from 0.1 µg/L to 0.9µg/L . In other words, the health authorities now tolerate a nine times higher concentration of these metabolites in the water, without this changing the quality or the dangerousness of the water.
This practice has also been denounced in some newspapers.
The Sud-Ouest newspaper of October 13, 2022 headlined: “ Reassessed by ANSES, two degradation products of the herbicide S-metolachlor are no longer considered dangerous. The water is officially drinkable again for several million French people. »
On the occasion of the broadcast of a “Complément d’Enquête” survey broadcast on Thursday September 22 on France 2, France Info took an interest in tap water analysis data, between January 2021 and July 2022.
Here is their conclusion: “ There are hundreds of molecules of pesticides and therefore metabolites. Are they all tracked down in tap water? Far from it. Out of more than 1,000 existing pesticide molecules, the health authorities searched for an average of 170 by sampling between January 2021 and July 2022…. If the precautionary principle were applied in all cities [… ], this would amount to restricting the use of tap water for millions of inhabitants. »
Is the state playing us when we know that since September 2021 it has been informed that around 25% of French towns and villages do not have access to drinking water that meets health standards? That’s 12 million people!
By a sleight of hand, the non-potable water has been declared drinkable!
Why and how to justify that molecules that were considered relevant, that is to say, dangerous are now classified as irrelevant?
The former director general of ARS Nouvelle-Aquitaine Michel Laforcade , retired since 2020 , believes that the health authorities have “failed” on the issue of pesticides and their degradation products, metabolites .
He recognizes “that there is a lot of self-censorship in the administration, a kind of inability to look at reality” .
“One day, we will have to be accountable. It may not be on the same scale as the tainted blood scandal, but it could become the next public health scandal. “, he says.
So let’s open our eyes and ears and be informed and responsible consumers.
As the saying goes “No one is ever better served than by oneself”.
Thanks to all the information we have access to, there is no longer any question of having blind faith.
Nor is it a question of always living in mistrust!
It is simply a question of having the necessary knowledge to make the right choices.
What water do we need to preserve our health capital the longest?
By Stéphane Foucart , Stéphane Mandard and Florence Traullé
Posted on September 21, 2022 at 5:56 p.m. Updated on September 22, 2022 at 10:01 a.m.