News Year 2011 March

Chemical pollutants : the results of the InVS

L’InVS (Institute of sleep health) has published a few days ago the results of a study (carried out in 2006-2007) on concentrations of pollutants in the body of the French population.

Total 42 substances were studied on metals (lead, cadmium, Mercury…), pesticides and PCBs. This report is all the more interesting that it compares levels of concentrations of these pollutants with those of our European and American neighbours.

Exposure to metals

Good news, the concentration of lead in the blood decreased by 60% Since the last study of 1995, that shows the efforts made in France (removal of lead in fuels, paints and pipes).

The concentration of cadmium in the urine is similar to the rest of the European population. Cadmium is a metal used in alloys, to wrap the corrosion-sensitive metals, in the cells and batteries). It is important to clarify, as does the InVS, the rate is strongly influenced by smoking and that it increases with age because the body does not eliminate it.

On the other hand, the french are more contaminated by the Mercury that the Germans and the Americans, even though their rates are lower than those of the Spaniards. “Explains these differences by the difference in fish consumption in these countries since it is the main contribution of mercury-powered” explains the InVS.

Exposure to the pesticides

If the levels of organochlorine pesticides (DDT or lindane which are now virtually banned everywhere) are “overall low”, a derivative of the para-dichlorobenzene, a substance found in the mothballs, the disinfectants and deodorants for toilets, a hand was found at a high rate ! Pyrethroid pesticides (Agriculture, Horticulture, household use, etc.) have also been found at rates higher than in the United States and in Germany.

The France is the 1st consumer of pesticides in Europe, It is therefore unfortunately not surprising to find in larger quantities in our body.

Exposure to PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls)

“In the same way, for PCBs, levels are higher in France than in the United States and Germany.” alert the InVS. Remember PCBs, massively used between the years 1930 and 80 as an insulator electric, are very persistent contaminants in the environment. Found in the air but they are mostly mediated by the watercourse affecting fish, mammals, birds, etc. contaminant so throughout the food chain. However, their production was stopped in 1985 and their use from 2010…

Suite end of 2012…

The InVS will begin a new national survey of end biomonitoring 2012 to find out the changes compared to the existing data while expanding the study to 100 substances (endocrine disrupters for example).

Source :

InVS : plaquette_exposition_polluants_enns

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