Pesticides sprayed in rural areas make their way to citizens’ bedrooms
A study initiated by the European Citizens Initiative (ECI) Save Bees and Farmers2 has found that throughout the EU, bedrooms’ dust from rural citizens contains important amounts of pesticide residues.
Residents from intensive agricultural areas drew house dust samples in their bedrooms with the support of partner NGOs from 21 member states. 30 pesticides were tested out of the 450 pesticides approved in the EU. All samples were contaminated with an average of 8 pesticides with a maximum of 23 pesticide residues.
Pesticides suspected of causing cancer in humans, according to EU authorities, were detected in every fourth sample. Suspected endocrine disruptors or substances toxic to reproduction were commonly found.
Dr. Helmut Burtscher-Schaden, chemical officer at Global2000 (Friends of the Earth Austria) explained: “The problem of pesticide drift can no longer be ignored. We hope that the detection of suspected carcinogenic and reproductively harmful pesticides in the bedrooms of rural populations will be a wake-up call for regulatory authorities in the EU. After all, epidemiological studies show an increased risk of reproductive harm and cancer, especially among residents of agricultural areas. ”
Martin Dermine, policy officer at PAN Europe, an initiator of this ECI added, “In rural areas, babies crawling on the floor are constantly exposed through dust, often to carcinogenic or endocrine disrupting pesticides. This is not acceptable as science shows that exposure to tiny concentrations of such chemicals can cause harm. Furthermore, exposure to mixtures of pesticides is not tested by regulators, it is more than time the EU stops subsidizing polluting intensive agriculture and rather supports agroecological practices!”.
“Save bees and farmers” is a European Citizens Initiative aiming at collecting 1 million signatures throughout the EU by 30 September. The over 200 organisations alliance has few days left to collect the needed signatures. Over ~800 000 signatures have been collected up to now.
The initiative has three main asks:
- phasing out synthetic pesticides by 2035
- restore biodiversity in agricultural environment
- support to farmers in the transition to organic farming