Report confirms “excessive pesticides in French water”

Excessive levels of pesticides in French water have been confirmed by a recent report from the national environmental statistics agency IFEN. The report found around 100 substances at varying frequencies and levels, with the main pollutants being herbicides from the Triazine family.


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Surface waters were found to be the worst affected, with excessive levels confirmed at 47.5% of sampling points. The presence of pesticides was probable at 49.5% of points and only 3% were found to be genuinely pesticide free.

Coastal waters were found to contain a permanent, but low-level, presence of herbicides. A gradual attenuation was noted of organochlorine insecticides that have be present for 20 years.

Groundwater is the least polluted area, with just over half the locations sampled1 found to be free of pesticide contamination. Contamination was suspected in 35% of locations and confirmed in 13%.

Pesticides were also a factor in around one-eighth of the reported cases of substandard drinking water.

In response to these findings, the French Government plans to launch new research programmes into pesticide pollution and its impact, set-up a working group with industry to establish a “coherent pesticides information system”. It also plans to produce annual reports detailing pesticides found at different stages of the water cycle.

A summary of the report can be found on the ifen website.

1 The groundwater survey covered approx 75% of land area.

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