French Greens offer hair samples to highlight pesticide risks

The samples taken suggest that common pesiticides are prevalent in human hair.
The samples taken suggest that common pesiticides are prevalent in human hair. DR

Seven top French environmentalists including Yannick Jadot, the former presidential candidate for the Green party, have had their hair tested to draw attention to the prevalence of pesticides and other pollutants in daily life.

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The samples contained a "large cocktail of many endocrine disruptors", which can cause tumours, birth defects and other disorders, Générations Futures, an association that campaigns against pesticides and GMOs, said on Thursday.

Endocrine disruptors such as PCBs and pesticides are often found in food, makeup, toys, paint and many other household items.

Green party leader Yannick Jadot and fellow environmentalists Nicolas Hulot and José Bové were among those who submitted samples for analysis.

They aim to put pressure on the European Union ahead of a 28 February meeting to work out a definition of endocrine disruptors that would allow the bloc to develop regulations to limit their health risks.

Traces of nine to 25 pesticides

All seven subjects -- who also included the head of WWF France, Isabelle Autissier -- were found to have traces of nine to 25 pesticides in their hair.

Autissier, the first woman to successfully circle the world solo in a sailboat in 1991, had traces of 68 molecules -- the most of the group.

She told France Info radio she was "terrified by the findings, especially because I try to eat organic, I hardly put anything on my face and I have no cleaning products at home."

The 60-year-old yachtswoman put it down to her work at shipyards, where she came into contact with "substances that are very bad for you."

Bové, a 63-year-old farmer and member of the European Parliament, was also surprised, telling France Info: "Three PCBs, 11 softeners, pesticides, an insecticide -- and I've never used any of these on my farm."

The veteran anti-globalisation activist, famous for destroying a McDonald's restaurant in 1999, added: "All it takes is someone spraying the European Parliament's carpets (with insecticides)."

Jadot was running for president in France's two-stage election in April and May before announcing an allegiance with Socialist candidate Benoit Hamon late on Thursday.

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