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GF: Farmers: victims of pesticides - A hidden health scandal

Générations Futures: PRESS RELEASE

27 February 2012, Paris - Paris International Agricultural Show: for the first time, farmers who are victims of pesticides denounce the current situation and call for action.

Ending a code of silence

Demonstrators will be denouncing statements [1] that suggest that pesticides are not poisonous and describing the tragic and painful reality in which the members of our organisation [2],victims of chronic or acute poisoning by pesticides, are the living proof. This is why today, 27 February and throughout the International Agricultural Show, Générations Futures and farmers, widows of farmers, agricultural workers, and employees of the food sector – will voice our concerns that we are “poisoning ourselves by continuing to use pesticides”,and we want to speak out on this occasion.

A major action

For the first time in France, farmers who have been directly affected by pesticidesare coming together as part of the association “Phyto-Victimes” (Victims of pesticides) todemonstrate atthe International Agriculture Show. This action at the stand of the lobby group of the agrochemicals lobby in France is symbolic and will- at least we hope - kick start a more targeted debate by identifying those who are responsible.

State of play

For years we have experienced disinformation campaigns that are commissioned by industrygroups and which try to reassure us and then are sometimes judged by courts to be "lies". Industry and governments disseminate on a regular basis quality assessment reports of these products. More and more often we hear criticism ofthe quality of these reports, which are submitted by the different corporationsand are not written by independent evaluators. In addition, scientific studies increasingly linknumerous health risks posed to people exposed to pesticides. Realizing that pesticides are omnipresent and that as farmers we come into contact with them every day, who among can say that they do not have in his or her circle of friends and colleagues someone suffering from a serious condition - cancer or Parkinson’s - at an age when they should be at the top of their capacity?

The aim

In the first instance, we want to address the problems of farmers exposed to pesticides: to inform them of the current situationbut we also want to address the whole of the food processing industry and issue this message: "We, pesticide users, are in the front line of pesticide exposure. We want to unite to reject altogether this intoxication by pesticides and point out who is responsible for the current situation. "We also want to challenge decision makers and some key organisations in the agricultural community. We want to get products off the market thatthreaten our health, that of our loved ones, and more generally that of the population. We also call for establishing a system of evaluation, certification, and independent and transparent licensing. Finally, we want to gain support for farmers dealing with related illnesses, and we call for strong and binding decisions to halt this situation.

"Today we openly demonstrate to the agricultural community what pesticides have done - and still are doing -that is wreaking havoc in the French farming community,"said Paul Francois, President of Phyto-Victimes. We are here today for future generations and also for those who have already died of pesticide exposure. The current situation, a consequence of the desire to produce more and more whatever the cost, is no longer acceptable. The truth needs to be told so that we will finally be recognized as victims, and so that we get adequate support to become free from these hazardous products in food production,” he concludes.

For more information:

As partner in the 2012 Pesticides Action Week, HEAL has translated and disseminated this press release originally provided by Générations Futures.

Contact:

Nadine Lauverjat, Générations Futures, Email nadine@generations-futures.fr or mdrgf2@wanadoo.fr

Magali, Générations Futures, Email contact@semaine-sans-pesticides.fr

Notes:

[1]Cf. Jean-Charles Bocquet, executive director, UIPP (Union of Industry Plant Protection, an organization lobbying for the use of pesticides, said in 2011 in an interview with La Libération: "I want to point out that pesticides are not poisonous.”

[2] Phyto-Victims

Last updated on 28 March 2012

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