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A new web series launched by Phyto-Victimes, a French group supporting victims seeking legal justice and compensation following exposure to health-harming pesticides, brings into focus the long quest for recognition many farmers are forced to undergo in France and elsewhere.

Prostate cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, multiple myeloma, Parkinson’s disease and cognitive disorders: the list of negative health impacts that scientific research has associated with exposure to certain pesticides has significantly increased over the past decades. While general awareness and concern have risen as well, farmers and other sectoral workers who have been impacted by the use of these synthetic chemicals as part of their daily work activities often still need to fight a seemingly endless battle to be recognised and compensated.

Entitled “The Fight for Recognition”, the Phyto-Victimes web series brings together testimonies from victims of toxic pesticides as well as from researchers and elected officials over the course of seven episodes.

It addresses solutions to reduce the impact of pesticides that harm health and the wider environment, and the urgency to transition our current agricultural model towards a pesticide-free and sustainable agricultural system.

The seven-part series shows what people living with the consequences of using these toxic pesticides experience on the ground in their working environment. The videos have been made available with subtitles in various languages.

  1. “Whistle-blowers” (EN, FR, PL)
  2. “A long and arduous battle” (EN, FR, PL)
  3. “I thought I was safe” (EN, FR, PL)
  4. “Bounce Back (after illness) “(EN, FR, PL)
  5. “(Agricultural) Transition” (EN, FR, PL)
  6. “Searching for resilience” (EN, FR, PL)
  7. “The resistance is getting organised” (EN, FR, PL)

HEAL’s collaboration with Phyto-Victimes

HEAL supported the development of the web series, the latest collaboration in our work with Phyto-Victimes. Phyto-Victimes has been a HEAL member since its founding in 2011.

Other highlights from our inspiring collaboration over the years include:

  • HEAL supported the first meeting of Phyto-Victimes’ founding members in 2010. Segments of this meeting were featured in Marie-Monique Robins 2011 investigative film “Notre Poison Quotidien”, which aired on ARTE.
  • We co-organised a screening of the film “La mort est dan le Pré” in 2013, which saw Phyto-Victimes’ members visiting the European Parliament to share their testimonies and advocate for change to reduce exposure to harmful pesticides.
  • More recently in 2019, HEAL supported Phyto-Victimes’ then President Paul Francois in his legal battle with Monsanto. His win was a victory for all victims of pesticides.
  • In December 2021, Phyto-Victimes Vice-President Julien Guillard shared his story at HEAL’s event, “Why urgent action on the EU’s Zero Pollution ambition matters for health – voices from communities and vulnerable groups”. The recording of the webinar is available here.
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