French study to find if living near vineyard increases pesticide risk

Researchers will analyse urine and hair samples and other data collected from thousands of participants chosen at random in six regions

19 October 2021

Participants’ lifestyles, such as the food they eat, will be analysed as part of the study Pic: Yannick Martinez / Shutterstock

By Joanna York

A new study has been launched today (October 19) to find out if people who live close to vineyards in France are at greater risk from exposure to pesticides than those who do not.

The PestRiv study will collect data from 3,350 adults aged 18-79 and children over the age of three selected at random in six regions and is being run by the state’s Santé publique France and l'Agence nationale de sécurité sanitaire de l'alimentation, de l'environnement et du travail (Anses).

The regions are: Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, Grand Est, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, Occitanie and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur.

Within these regions, 250 study zones have been identified in communities located less than 500 metres from vineyards and, for comparison, more than 1,000 metres from other crops or more than 1,000 metres from all crops, including vineyards. 

The way the vines are cultivated will also be taken into account. Vineyards were selected because they use "perennial crops with relatively high treatment frequencies and are often interspersed around homes," said Jean-Luc Volatier, from Anses’ risk assessment department.

A first round of data collection will run from October 2021 – February 2022, a period of the year during which pesticide use in vineyards is low, and a second round will run from March – August, 2022, when it increases.

The study will include biological tests carried out on urine and hair samples, and environmental tests on dust in the air in homes, water samples and fruits and vegetables grown in participants’ gardens. 

When pesticides are identified, researchers will try to identify the source of exposure in order to find “in an objective way which sources contribute the most to exposure to pesticides and adapt prevention measures”.

Sources of exposure may include internal or external air, food or exposure through work.

Results of the study are expected in 2024.

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