With the return of the warm weather, the use of plant protection products is increasing in order to protect crops from undesirable species and to increase agricultural performance.
These herbicides, fungicides and insecticides are applied by spraying. With this method of application, a large proportion of the products are dispersed into the environment and expose local residents to a cocktail of toxic substances.
In France, to protect local residents, no-treatment zones (ZNT) have been set up. The minimum distances for spraying are between 5 and 20 metres depending on the products used and the crops treated.
Are these distances sufficient to protect local residents from pesticide drift?
The EXPORIP study (Exposure of Residents to Agricultural Pesticides) set up by Générations Futures and YOOTEST aims to measure pesticide residues deposited on windows.
This participatory science project will make it possible to obtain scientific data on the effectiveness of ZNTs and the levels of pollution measured as a function of distance from the area where pesticides are applied.
"Should minimum spreading distances be increased to better protect local residents? "
Among the pesticides researched in the EXPORIP study, prosulfocarb is a widely used herbicide active ingredient with 3,947 tonnes officially sold in 2019 according to the BNVD (Banque Nationale de Ventes de produits phytosanitaires par les Distributeurs agrées).
Between 2009 and 2017, the quantities of prosulfocarb increased from 863 tonnes to 4458 tonnes.
In 2014, within field crops, potatoes used the largest quantity of prosulfocarb (59% of the quantities sold).
"Prosulfocarb is one of the most widely used herbicides in agriculture
Prosulfocarb (CAS 52888-80-9) is a herbicidal active substance of the dithiocarbamate family with a marketing authorisation in Europe for formulations not exceeding 970 g/kg under the names :
It is mainly used for wheat, barley, rye, potato, PPAMC (Perfume, Aromatic, Medicinal and Condiment Plants), trees and shrubs, carrots, strawberries, onions and poppies.
"The presence of prosulfocarb in a home is linked to its use in agriculture
It is not authorised for biocidal or veterinary uses. Its presence in the environment is therefore only related to its agricultural use.
It is highly volatile and easily dispersed in the atmosphere. It was very frequently measured in the air of agglomerations by the AASQAs at significant concentrations throughout 2019.
The AASQAs are mandated by the State to carry out ambient air quality monitoring, including for pesticides, in the main cities of France.
Agricultural areas are not studied but plant protection products are found in the air of cities.
Prosulfocarb was monitored in 1171 ambient air quality checkpoints and measured in 37.1% of the samples in all months of the year from January to December.
"In 2019, more than one in three air samples included prosulfocarb"
Maximum concentrations of prosulfocarb in the air are up to 86.8 ng/m3 of air in Hauts-de-France (Commune de West-Cappel in May, ATMO HAUT-DE-FRANCE), 65.8 and 39.8 ng/m3 in Nouvelle-Aquitaine (Commune de Montroy in October and in December, ATMO NOUVELLE AQUITAINE)
Considered moderately toxic, its acceptable daily intake is 0.005 mg/kg body weight per day (equivalent to 0.35 mg/day for a 70 kg adult).
According to the University of Hertfordshire, it degrades rapidly in soils (half-life 9.8-11.9 days) and is mainly transformed into prosulfocarb sulfoxide but is reported to be stable in water.
It was often detected in surface water (up to 9.4% of samples analysed between 2007 and 2014), very little detected in groundwater (in less than 1% of samples taken between 2007 and 2014) and almost never detected in water intended for human consumption.
Few toxicological data are available on this herbicide, despite its wide use. According to ECHA, like many other pesticides, it is harmful to the aquatic environment and seriously harms the biodiversity of the wetlands on which it is deposited. It is known to be a skin sensitiser.
Generations Futures/YOOTEST CampaignEXPORIP: 1st national campaign to study agricultural pesticide drift. Test conducted in laboratory.
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