Air quality monitoring associations will measure the presence of pesticides in the air in 2018 as part of an exploratory campaign to better assess the exposure of the population, said ATMO France, which federates these organizations..
The campaign, piloted by the National Health Safety Agency (Anses) in conjunction with the National Institute of Industrial Environment and Risks (Ineris), should start in spring 2018 on about fifty measurement sites, it was said Tuesday at ATMO France. "The objective is to assess the average exposure of the population to this background pollution but also to identify possible situations of overexposure (professionals, local residents...)," the network added in a statement.
In mid-October, the ANSES considered that knowledge of the levels of air contamination by pesticides was "partial and heterogeneous", while "epidemiological studies show associations between pesticide exposure and various chronic pathologies". The Agency had then recommended national monitoring for one year of 90 priority substances (chemical substances used in the composition of plant protection products, biocides, veterinary drugs and human pesticides). The list of substances to be measured will be defined among these 90 products, according to ATMO France.
The results of this exploratory campaign should then be used to develop a longer-term monitoring strategy.
According to the ANSES, some products - such as fipronil, which last summer caused a crisis linked to the discovery of contaminated eggs in several European countries - are already considered to be present in the air and should be monitored in the longer term. But the presence in the air of some others is not as certain, for example the controversial glyphosate, whose authorisation has just been renewed by the EU for five years.
This herbicide requires specific equipment for its sampling in the air and only a small number of approved air quality monitoring associations (AASQA) will be able to measure it, ATMO France was told.
The AASQAs are responsible for measuring air quality and providing warnings of nitrogen dioxide or fine particle pollution, but pesticide data have so far been collected through local and ad hoc initiatives.