Pesticide use in the vineyards of Preignac, a village within the French wine region of Bordeaux, has become an issue of particular concern for locals after a new report — released jointly by the French Agence Régionale de Santé (ARS), a regional health agency, and Institut de veille sanitaire (InVS), the French Institute for Public Health Surveillance — found that cancer rates in the area’s children were troublingly high.
According to the report, children under the age of 15 living in Preignac were five times more likely to be diagnosed with cancers related to pesticide use than their peers nationwide.
Over the last 14 years, Preignac has been hit with four cases of childhood cancer, compared to a national average of .8 cases. All the children affected “attend the public school, live in Preignac and were born in Preignac,” according to the report.
The report did not name the specific pesticide used, but according to Wine Spectator, 70 percent of French vineyards use glyphosate — a probable carcinogen according International Agency for Research on Cancer, the specialized cancer agency of the World Health Organization — an herbicide perhaps most recognized as the active ingredient in Roundup, a line of products produced by Monsanto. Folpet, another fungicide used to treat mildew on grapevines, is also commonly used and has been identified as another probable human carcinogen.