Scientists from Italy, Austria and Germany are calling for action after detecting 32 different agricultural pesticides on children's playgrounds within the Italian province of South Tyrol. The analysis, published in February 2021, proves all year-round contamination from these harmful substances.

In 2018, 96 samples of grass were taken from nineteen children’s playgrounds, four schoolyards and one marketplace and subsequently analysed by the Sanitary Services of the Province of South Tyrol. Authors of the study say the results provide clear evidence of the huge presence of pesticide drift – the unintentional diffusion of pesticides - in public spaces.

The majority of the residues (76%) detected were endocrine disrupting chemicals. Endocrine disruptors can cause harm at very low doses, in particular for vulnerable groups such as children and pregnant women.

Koen Hertoge, co-author of the study and board member of Pesticide Action Network (PAN) Europe regards the content of this study as a confirmation of previous results, which are equally worrying: “Once again, evidence has been provided to prove that the topic of pesticide drift is of absolute importance. This study is yet another scientific proof calling on those responsible to find solutions in order to protect public health”.

Scientific expert co- authors of the study work at the Cancer Research Centre, the Ramazzini Institute in Bologna, the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna. The full study, as well as a press release, can be accessed online.