Can you drink French tap water? 

Find out whether or not it is safe to drink tap water in France

French tap water is actually the food or drink substance that undergoes the most checks in terms of bacteria or toxins to ensure it is safe to drink
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Reader question: You reported that tap water has pesticide traces. Is it generally safe to drink this anywhere in the country? S.B.

French tap water is actually the food or drink substance that undergoes the most checks in terms of bacteria or toxins to ensure it is safe to drink, so, as a general rule, it is indeed considered to be drinkable across the country.

Even so, it is true that a 2022 report by the Anses food safety authority indicated that around a third of water tested had excessive residues of a pesticide called chlorothalonil.

Dr Philippe Beaulieu, of non-profit body the Centre d’information sur l’eau, said that the concentrations of residues had been found to be higher than Anses’ ‘quality’ threshold.

This threshold is a sign for a water company to make adjustments due to an unusual composition of the water but does not mean there is an immediate health risk.

Read also: Pesticides in French tap water ‘not a health risk’

Dr Beaulieu said that, as a cautionary measure, these ‘quality’ thresholds are triggered at concentrations at least ten times smaller than those considered by Anses to actually pose a harm to people’s health.

None of the latter had been found to have been exceeded in the report, he said.

Drinking water might sometimes contain traces of fertilisers or pesticides as a result of run-off or infiltration into soil.

Regional health agencies run regular checks on levels and publish the results online, commune by commune.

The checks also look for any presence of bacteria, which could indicate poor maintenance, a failure in disinfection treatment, or contamination during transport or storage.

Your mairie has information on water quality in your area and a note about it is attached annually to your water bill. In flats, you should ask the syndic.

Read also

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