PestiRiv study: focus on the second survey period designed to improve knowledge of exposure to pesticides in wine-growing areas

The PestiRiv study, which Santé publique France and ANSES have been conducting in six regions of metropolitan France (Grand Est, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, Occitanie and Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur) since October 2021, entered its second period in March. This unprecedented work will provide the first ever measurements of exposure to pesticides in wine-growing and non-wine-growing areas. Here we take a look at the study through three questions.

What does PestiRiv involve?

As a reminder, the objective of the PestiRiv study is to better understand and shed light on pesticide exposure of people living in wine-growing areas.

Why grapevines? In France, these are among the crops most commonly treated with plant protection products. Moreover, they are often located in close proximity to residential areas.

How were the participants recruited? Randomly-selected households were informed by post and then contacted by an Ipsos interviewer, who explained what the survey involved and the practicalities of their participation. Households are not required to take part, but a high level of participation is preferable to ensure that all the different exposure situations are represented.

Why a two-phase study? Two periods of the year are being targeted by the PestiRiv study. From October 2021 to February 2022, the aim was to observe pesticide exposure of people living near vineyards outside the periods when vines are treated with plant protection products. Now comes the central focus of the study, which will take place during the treatment period. This second period started in March 2022 and will continue until August 2022. Its objective is to observe the exposure of people living in wine-growing areas and those living far from any crops during the periods when the vines are treated with pesticides.

Who can participate?

The people primarily concerned by this second phase of the study are the 784 households that took part in the first phase. They will be contacted again, but will this time be asked to take part during the pesticide treatment period, which will enable us to obtain a comparison of their exposures, outside and during the treatment periods.

Two new types of participants will also be included in the study during this second period:

  • 750 new households living far from any crops – more than 1 km away. In principle, they are not exposed to pesticides used on grapevines, but probably are to other sources of pesticides (food, domestic or professional uses, etc.), so they will act as controls. Their participation is essential as it provides a reference level of pesticide exposure;
  • 750 new households living in wine-growing areas, which are in addition to the households already included in the first period, with a view to broadening the base of participants and obtaining a maximum number of samples from these people living near vines.

We are currently in the key period when the pesticide exposure of people living in wine-growing areas is at its highest. The data collected will be used to identify overexposure to pesticides in these populations, study their causes and identify in the longer term the potential action that could be taken to reduce exposure.

Why are you looking at the pesticide exposure of people living far from any crops? 

Grapevine treatments are not the only sources of exposure for these residents. There are others, such as food, for example. For this reason, with the PestiRiv study, we are trying to characterise all possible sources of exposure for a given list of pesticides, by asking the participants about their eating habits, their use of pesticides at home or their occupational activities. This study on an unprecedented scale will provide us with a great deal of invaluable data on the different sources of exposure to pesticides. Its success depends largely on the number and involvement of participants. We would like to thank in advance everyone who has agreed to join in and contribute to reducing exposure.

If you are selected, we will be counting on you to give us a positive response, as the brief time you need to spend on this will be invaluable in ensuring better protection of public health.