A French TV documentary has revealed that tap water in at least a quarter of French cities falls below health standards set by the government’s water quality agency. Contamination with pesticides is the main problem.
Last year, 12 million people, one-fifth of France’s population, drank contaminated water regularly or occasionally.
In 2020, less than 6% of the population was affected.
How bad it is depends on where you live. But the French region does not escape.
In the northern Hauts-de-France region, water supply to 65% of the population is affected.
In western Brittany, it is 43%, and in the east, near the German border, it involves a quarter of households, according to journalist Gihane Benzina, who introduced a primetime documentary.
Water supplies in more than 105 communities in northern France are subject to special controls to ensure that the health of local consumers is not at risk.
Residents of the town of La Rue Saint-Pierre in Oise say they use tap water to wash their hands and dishes.drinking water Derived from a bottle.
Agricultural activity bears the brunt
Pesticides are the main problem.
“When it is sprayed on crops, it is washed into the soil until it is filtered into streams, rivers and reservoirs. Tap water shows traces of this pollution, sometimes at alarming levels,” the journalist said.
The exact chemical causing the contamination varies from region to region.
In the north, sprays used against beet pests predominate, consistent with local land use. In the West, chemicals are associated with vast cornfields. And in Burgundy, not surprisingly, drinking water contains chemicals that target grape pests.
of DGS, a government public health watchdog, has had a regional report on water quality for several months, but has yet to issue an official statement. A DGS official declined to answer questions from journalists and said the report would be available “within the next few weeks.”
Specter of the AIDS blood scandal
Michel Lafourcade, former director of the regional health authority in western France, says the system has failed.
“No one is talking about this within the administration. There is a lot of self-censorship,” he says.
“But people will have to get up and count sooner or later.”
Lafourcade recall AIDS-contaminated blood scandal Transfused to healthy patients in French hospitals in the 1980s. About 5,000 people were infected and 300 died.
“We don’t necessarily think this is on the same scale as the blood scandal, but it could very well be the next big public health problem,” he warns.
https://www.rfi.fr/en/france/20220923-tap-water-undrinkable-in-a-quarter-of-french-towns-and-cities Tap water not drinkable in a quarter of French towns and cities