On 27 March, a fully packed audience watched the first-ever screening of the documentary in Brussels and heard representatives of the French phytovictims association explain how pesticides have affected their lives.
Photos from the event available here
To highlight the urgent need to reduce exposure of consumers and farmers to pesticides, Campaign secretariat HEAL brought together pesticide victims and EU policy makers in Brussels to discuss how to prevent impacts of pesticides on our health.
The successful film screening ‘La Mort est dans le Pré’ was co-hosted by HEAL, MEP Hiltrud Breyer, and EDC-Free campaign partners Pesticide Action Network Europe (PAN-E) and Générations Futures.
Participants at the screening discovered how the lives of farmers have been affected by the use of pesticides in their daily lives: Pesticide use has led to the development of life threatening diseases and conditions including cancer, lymphoma, Parkinson’s and brain tumours in cereal and vine growers, agricultural workers and others.
French director Eric Guéret immersed himself for a year in the lives of these individuals to overcome the silence within the agricultural community. Although many do not talk about these issues and often refuse to make the link between pesticides and diseases, hundreds of farmers are victims.
The film pays tribute to some of the individuals who are part of an association of French farmers called PHYTO VICTIMES www.phyto-victimes.fr/ and feature in the documentary. President Paul Francois, who successfully sued US biotech giant Monsanto for poisoning him with a powerful weedkiller; Caroline CHENET-LIS, Vice President, who lost her husband to leukaemia; and, Jacky Ferrand, whose son passed away from bladder cancer thought to be associated with pesticides used on vines shared their personal stories after the screening of the film. They were joined by Emilie Chenet, daughter of Caroline Chenet-Lis and Ophelie Robineau from Phytovictims secretariat.
President Paul Francois says a key aim of the association is to support greater protection from pesticide exposure to those who are highly exposed. “We are here in Brussels to show the harm caused by heavy exposure to pesticides and to call for a quick and definitive withdrawal of carcinogens, neurotoxins, and endocrine disruptors.”
MEP Hiltrud Breyer and the audience addressed the individuals as ‘heros’ for their powerful determination to raise awareness about our exposure to pesticides.
Pesticide Action Week is an annual and international event, first initiated by HEAL member Générations Futures, which is open to everyone, with the aim to promote alternatives to pesticides. More information here www.pesticideactionweek.org