August 1, 2021

the worrying conclusions of Inserm’s collective expertise

The evidence for links between exposure to pesticides and the occurrence of many diseases continues to strengthen. This is the salient conclusion of the collective expertise led by the National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm), the main results of which were presented on Wednesday, June 30, during a restitution colloquium which gathered more than 800 people, according to Gilles Bloch, the director general of Inserm.

Cancers, lymphomas, anxiety-depressive disorders, erosion of cognitive abilities and neurodegenerative diseases, disorders of child development, respiratory pathologies, hormonal disturbances: for more than two years, fifteen scientists from several disciplines have examined the international scientific literature in order to objectify the links between different types of diseases and exposure to pesticides, for a variety of populations (farmers and agricultural workers, industrial employees, residents of treated plots, etc.).

This is the second time that the experts appointed by Inserm have taken on the exercise. The last collective expertise on the subject – and the first of its kind – dates back to 2013. It participated in particular, explained Mr. Bloch in substance, in the recognition of two occupational diseases of farmers working in contact with pesticides: non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas ( NHL, cancers of the lymphatic system) and Parkinson’s disease.

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Not surprisingly, the accumulation of new knowledge confirms, eight years later, the “strong” presumption of a link between occupational exposure to pesticides and these two diseases. As with multiple myeloma, prostate cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and chronic bronchitis, or cognitive disorders (memory, attention, reasoning, etc.). Expertise adds that a presumption ” average “ a link with occupational exposure to pesticides has been identified “For Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety-depressive disorders, certain cancers (leukemia, central nervous system, bladder, kidney, soft tissue sarcomas), asthma and wheezing, and thyroid pathologies”.

A link between prenatal exposure and brain tumors

The children of those most at risk are also potentially concerned. “Home exposure during pregnancy is associated with an approximately 50% increase in the risk of childhood leukemia, explained epidemiologist Stéphanie Goujon (Inserm, Paris-Descartes University), co-author of the expertise. And the risk of acute myeloid leukemia is about tripled for children whose mothers were the most professionally exposed. “ A strong link between prenatal exposure and childhood brain tumors has also been noted.

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