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Gastronomy and Wine Portal


PestiRiv: the first national study in wine-growing areas of France

03.11.2021, News

On October 29, the very first study began to measure the exposure of the population in wine-growing areas to plant protection products in France. Called PestiRiv, the study has been conducted by Santé Publique France and ANSES and will take place in two distinct phases.

Considering real estate pressure, historical establishment or not, the vines are often located near residential areas, often causing heated debates between residents and winegrowers during treatments, even in organic farming. PestiRiv therefore arrives as an arbitrator, in order to officially measure the dangerousness of exposure to around fifty molecules (glyphosate, folpet), but the professionals, who once again were not consulted on the methodology, remain puzzled.

This is the very first time that a study of this importance has been carried out in France. Especially when the latter is financed and carried out by institutions such as the National Agency of Public Health and the National Food Safety Agency (ANSES), in charge of health monitoring and safety. As a reminder, PestiRiv is included in the Ecophyto 2+ plan, which itself aims to reduce the use, risks, and impact of phytosanitary products.

The challenge of PestiRiv is therefore to understand the differences between exposure to pesticides of people living near vineyards and those living further away, in a context of ever-growing concern about the products used. Previously, between October and December 2021, a first stage had been initiated in four municipalities in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine and Grand Est regions. This step aimed to ensure involvement and interest. ANSES and Santé Publique France then tested the methodology, the adherence of local residents and helped to better understand the expectations of the participants in order to improve its operation at the national level.

wine-growing France

A study on pesticides, which encompassed so many regions, and not only those which are often accused of a massive use of synthetic products, has never been carried out by the public authorities. Among them, there are Occitanie, Grand Est, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and Bourgogne-Franche-Comté where the participants live in the 250 zones of studies chosen for PestiRiv. Regarding the choice of participants in the chosen areas, no less than 3,350 people including children, adults, and the elderly (from 3 to 79 years old) were previously drawn. They were selected in two very distinct areas in order to measure the differences in exposure to plant protection products. The first in wine-growing areas, less than 500 meters from cultivated vines, and the second, outside wine-growing areas and more than one kilometer from all crops.

Two very distinct zones for two periods of the year

PestiRiv will analyze a first period between October 2021 and February 2022 when the treatments are the least frequent and then, on the contrary, when the treatments are the most frequent, from March 2022 to August 2022. During the latter, the exposure will be measured analyzing the impact both on and in the people concerned (urine, hair, dust, garden) and of course in the environment (outside air in and outside wine-growing areas).

To complete the measurements will be accompanied by additional analyzes, using questionnaires to analyze the daily lives of participants, descriptions of meteorological conditions, analyzes of the agricultural context (disease pressure) and national surveillance data of the water. Expected in 2024, the results of several million samples will finally allow a coherent and relevant analysis of the exposure of local residents to the many synthetic pesticides used. But this study forgets those first concerned, the winegrowers, and one wonders why. Outside, the sector is fully mobilized to improve its practices, from the cultivation of the vines to the shipment of its bottles. The various labels of environmentally friendly production (including the human environment) are all experiencing unprecedented progress. How is it that professionals are excluded from this reflection by institutions that are supposed to collaborate with them?

Based on terredevins.com

Photo: thespruceeats.com