Pesticides and cancers: the anger of a mother

Pesticides and cancers: the anger of a mother

Why are the children of Preignac more affected by cancer than the others? Is this attributable to the use, near the village school, of pesticides to treat the vines? A look back at this affair with Pascale Mothe, former resident of Preignac and mother of Lucas, who suffered from leukemia when he was 5 years old.

A report published in August 2015 by the Institut de Veille Sanitaire (InVS) shows that in Preignac, a small village of 2,200 inhabitants in Bordeaux, the rate of cancer in children is six times higher than the national average. Over the past fourteen years, the health authority noted three cases of cancer in children against 0.5 expected.

Report in Preignac (October 2, 2015)

Pascale Mothe, a former resident of Preignac, is the mother of Lucas, who suffered from leukemia when he was 5 years old. She was a guest of Health Magazine on October 28, 2015.

  • Your son Lucas had leukemia at the age of 5 and a half. He is now 21 – how is he?

Pascal Mothe:Lucas is cured of his leukemia, but has developed a neuro-degenerative disease linked to treatments, in particular lumbar punctures, which he has undergone in number.

  • Your son’s illness dates back fifteen years. During all this time, you never made the connection between his cancer and the use of pesticides?

Pascale Mothe:Absolutely not. I asked myself the question at the beginning when he fell ill, since in Preignac we were surrounded by vineyards and we know the harmfulness of the products used in the wine-growing activity. But it was very recently, and completely by chance, that I learned of a report from the health authorities, noting that there were six times more cancers among children in Preignac than elsewhere. And I was never contacted, neither before nor after the publication of this report…”

  • In its conclusions, the INVS report does not say whether the excess number of cancers in Preignac is linked to a random fluctuation of diseases, or to an environmental risk factor – in this case, the use of pesticides. You criticize this report for not going any further…

Pascale Mothe:The report does not say that there is a direct link between these cancers and the use of pesticides. However, he does not dispute it… We should deepen the investigations: carry out toxicological research – on urine or hair for example, to see if the inhabitants are actually contaminated by pesticides – and epidemiological on a larger population, up to to neighboring towns. But so far nothing has been done.”

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