According to data from the “World”, around 12 million people were affected in 2021 by exceeding the quality thresholds for pesticides and their metabolites.
The numbers are startling. They reveal the extent of contamination of water resources by pesticides and their degradation products; they also show deep shortcomings, which have persisted for many years, in the monitoring of drinking water. In 2021 , according to data collected by Le Monde from regional health agencies (ARS), water agencies or prefectures, around 20% of French people in mainland France – some 12 million people – received at the tap, regularly or occasionally, water that does not meet quality criteria . This figure was 5.9% in 2020, according to the Ministry of Health.
Most of this data has been available to the Directorate General for Health (DGS) for several months, but so far has not been aggregated for public release. The DGS declined our interview requests . Their official presentation, scheduled for the next few weeks, promises to be delicate: in a country where the rare deviations from drinking water quality standards are, each year, presented as marginal and harmless, the current situation is as alarming as unexpected . To the point of disturbing former senior executives of the health system.
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 . “ There is a lot of self-censorship in the administration, a kind of inability to look at reality , he testifies. 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. »
Posted on September 21, 2022 at 5:56 p.m. Updated on September 22, 2022 at 10:01 a.m.