Public exposure to pesticides may be more widespread than suspected
Friday, 15 December 2017
“Exposure to pesticides could be more considerable and widespread than suspected,” Wallonia’s Environment Minister Carlo Di Antonio said on Friday, announcing that a study had been launched to assess its extent. “Certain questions remain hanging and deserve scientific answers quickly so as to validate measures for protecting the public,” said the Humanist Democratic Centre (cdH) minister. He has commissioned a study covering Wallonia by l’Institut scientifique de Service public (ISSeP – Public Service Scientific Institute) in collaboration with the Centre wallon de recherches agronomiques (CRA-W – Walloon Centre for Agronomic Research) and Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech University Faculty.
Under the study, which will begin in Spring 2018, air and projection sensors will be installed next to fields, in school yards and at other public sites close to farms. The sensors will be installed at various distances, behind physical barriers and in different climatic conditions, so as to cover the widest possible range of scenarios.
Depending on application conditions and the weather, 25% to 75% of pesticides applied are reportedly in the air, according to the minister. “An increasing number of accidents and studies seem to indicate that the exposure of populations living near farmland has been underestimated,” he added.
Meanwhile, Wallonia’s Government on Thursday adopted stricter ceilings for five molecules that pollute water meant for human consumption. Four are active components of pesticides while the fifth is contained in an insecticide.