Pesticides, nitrate and lead can make tap water unfit to drink. But fortunately this is not a problem for the majority. According to the consumer rights group Que Choisir, 97% of people in France are consuming tap water that is fit to drink.
There is however a gap between town and country, as pesticides or bacterial contamination can harm water in rural areas. Around 2 million people are drinking water that could contain harmful pesticides.
Around 200,000 people are drinking water that is unfit to consume due to pesticides and nitrate, notably in Saran in Loiret, Berck in Pas-de-Calais and in some communes in Seine-et-Marne.
Brittany has the best tap water for drinking, with a 99.99% compliance rate for nitrate levels and a 99% for pesticides, above the national average.
It is more likely that tap water will be contaminated in buildings built before the 1950s due to lead in ageing pipes. It is recommended to let the tap run for 2 minutes before drinking from it.
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