23 children fall ill after vines sprayed
16th May, 2014 by Lauren Eads
A group of French schoolchildren and their teacher have been taken ill following the chemical spraying of vines near their school, it has been reported.
The incident happened at a school in the village of Villeneuve, near Bourg-sur-Gironde, where 23 primary school children and one teacher were taken ill with symptoms including a painful throat, a tingling of the tongue, eye irritation, nausea and headaches, according to a report by French news site sudouest.fr.
Their symptoms appeared shortly after vines, which surround their school were sprayed with chemicals, prompting concerns of improper pesticide exposure.
Dr. Martine Vivier-Darrigol, of the Regional Health Agency, told the paper she had “no doubt” that the symptoms were related to the effects of pesticides.
The incident has sparked an investigation by the Regional Directorate for Food, Agriculture and Forestry (DRAAF) which reaffirmed in a statement that spraying must be carried out under specific conditions and that if their had been a breach action would be taken.
Emmanuelle Reix, of Générations Futures, an organisation opposed to the chemicals in vineyards, urged the departments concerned to “take real action to protect civilians” in a statement posted on its website, and also called for a review of pesticide regulations in France.
It read: “During the spraying season (from March to September), we receive complaints from tens of residents.
“We are calling on the ministries concerned to take steps to protect the population.”