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French committee and charter on pesticide alternatives

A cross party committee of senators in France has launched a ’’Charter for alternatives to pesticides’’ (Charte du Comité des élus pour les alternatives des pesticides) to disseminate information on pesticides and promote alternatives. More than 100 elected officials – senators, members of Parliament and municipal councillors – have already joined.

The charter and the cross-party committee were presented at a breakfast meeting at the National Assembly on 27 March 2013. Its recommendations are based on an extensive senate investigation into the use of pesticides in France, the third biggest user in the world after USA and Japan. The investigation findings highlighted that “the risk of pesticide use has been, and continues to be, underestimated” and “the procedure for market authorisation is inappropriate and should be revised.”

The senatorial committee was initiated by three associations in France: Agir pour l’environnement, Générations futures (a member of HEAL) and the bee-keepers union (l’Union des apiculteurs UNAF). Chantal Jouanno, a senator for the UMP party said that the debate about pesticides in France had changed profoundly with greater understanding of the role of endocrine disrupting chemicals. “You cannot have healthy people in a sick planet », she said. ’’Todays epidemics are related to EDCs and their accumulation in our food and environment.’’

The Charter is supported by a new group of medical doctors in France. Dr Pierre-Michel Perinaud, a general practitioner from Limoges, told the launch meeting that many health indicators are flashing in red not only for farmers but also for bystanders. He said doctors were particularly about the studies showing the effects of pesticide exposure on the foetus.

Certain farmers are also supporting the Charter, such as Dominique Marchal from the network Victims of Pesticides (Phyto-Victimes). He told the meeting that his leukaemia, diagnosed in 2002, was provoked by substances in the pesticides and herbicides in the products he had used at work. This month, a high court had judged that the state should pay him compensation.

More information here

Originally posted on 11 April 2013

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