is tap water a health risk?

Up to 250 pesticides and metabolites (breakdown products of pesticides) can be monitored in tap water today. Each regional health agency establishes its own list of pesticides to be analyzed, in particular according to local agricultural practices. AdobeStock

Data unveiled this week reveal that 20% of the French population would have been exposed to “non-compliant” water in terms of pesticides last year. What does this number mean?

Should we be afraid or not to drink tap water? This concern is not new, but it is currently making a comeback in public debate. According to an article published Wednesday by the newspaper Le Monde, approximately 20% of French people residing in mainland France have “received at the tap, regularly or occasionally, water that does not meet the quality criteriain terms of pesticides in 2021. This means that some 12 million people are supplied with water whose pesticide concentrations have, at least once a year, exceeded the thresholds set at European level. In 2020, this only concerned 5.9% of the French population, or 3.9 million inhabitants.

According to the daily, this information comes from data collected from regional health agencies (ARS), water agencies or prefectures. Asked Thursday by Le Figaro, the Directorate General for Health was unable to confirm these figures. “The use of health control data…

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