In another piece I have showed how recently chicken meat without the use of antibiotics is now being found on the local shelves. This leads us to ask for how long have people been sold chicken meat full of antibiotics which does not augur well for the food industry and the health of a nation.
The same question can be asked regarding water which we drink cook and shower with. I am stating so because France’s public health watchdog has announced that “mass testing of drinking water revealed traces from a banned pesticide in half the samples showing how potentially harmful chemicals persist in the environment.”
The National Agency for Food Environment and Workplace Security (ANSES) began a testing regime in 2019 to identify around 200 complex chemical compounds originating from pesticidesor explosives which are not normally sought in its routine checks.
“The agency said ‘one case in particular stood out’: traces left behind from a fungicide known as chlorothalonil sold widely by Swiss chemicals group Syngenta in Europe from the 1970s until it was banned by the EU in 2020.
A chemical produced when the fungicide breaks down known as metabolite R417888 was found in ‘more than one in two samples. Furthermore it was found in higher-than-authorised quantities in more than one sample in three ’ ANSES said.
The results are likely to raise questions about the presence of other undetected chemicals in drinking water and pose potentially major operational and financial challenges for water companies.
French authorities were alerted to the possible presence of chlorothalonil metabolites by studies carried out in Switzerland.
In February ANSES ordered a halt to some uses of one of the most widely used weedkillers in France S-metolachlor which is also produced by Syngenta after finding excessive levels in groundwater.”
What is chlorothalonil? It is a harmful pesticidebut which was sold under the brand name Bravo by Syngenta where it became “a best-selling product to prevent mildew and mould on cropssuch as barley and wheat as well as potatoes peas and beans.”
But after being used on such crops which were sold to the people the European Union banned it after a review by the European Food Safety Authority concluded it was potentially carcinogenic amid concerns about the contamination of groundwater. Why was it not banned before it was administered?
“ANSES said in a report last year that laboratory studies on chlorothalonil had linked it to kidney tumours in rats and mice while other studies have suggested it has played a role in the vast decline in bumblebee populations.”
“Syngenta which was bought by ChemChina for $43 billion in 2017 lobbied against a ban on its product pointing to other studies that disputed any carcinogenic effect.
The multinational sued Switzerland’s Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO) after it warned that chlorothalonil was a probable carcinogen.
It says on its Swiss website that reports about water contamination had ‘needlessly undermined citizen’s confidence in our drinking water.’”