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Daily News Blog

27
Jul

TAKE ACTION! Tell Evian to Protect the Integrity of Its Purity Claim by Supporting a Worldwide Shift to Organic

(Beyond Pesticides, July 27, 2020) Evian bottled water, produced by the French company Danone, is supposed to be so pure that scientists will calibrate their measuring devices with it. But new data from Swiss researchers finds it to be contaminated with a toxic fungicide. “The fact that even the Evian springs in the French Alps, which are hardly affected by humans, contain pesticide residues is alarming and shows the far too careless handling of these substances,” Roman Wiget, president of the international drinking water association AWBR told the German-language Swiss weekly. The answer is not to simply ban another toxic pesticide, only to be followed by another toxic pesticide, but foundational changes to agriculture and land management with a shift to organic practices. 

Tell Evian to protect water quality and the integrity of its purity claim by prominently supporting a worldwide shift to organic agriculture and land management.

Danone claims that the purity of Evian bottled water comes from its source in Cachat Spring at the base of the French Alps in the town of Évian-les-Bains, France, where it is “[p]rotected under a fortress of geological layers built by glaciers 30,000 years ago, it slowly travels through natural snowy, glacial rocks naturally filtering it.” Evian publishes results of water quality testing, supporting its claims of water high in natural minerals and lacking detections of synthetic chemicals.

Findings of the transformation products of the fungicide chlorothalonil, which is unlikely to have been used near the source of Evian water, demonstrate the fact that pesticides cannot be controlled. Evian, as a purveyor of “pure” water for people who are concerned about the contamination of their own local water supplies, should take actions to protect its water.

Chlorothalonil is a dangerous, highly toxic pesticide. As a probable human carcinogen, there is no safe dose. The transformation products found in Evian bottled water can be removed by carbon filtration, but such treatment results in contaminated carbon and places the burden of removal on Evian, rather than the chemical companies. Although other pesticides have not been found so far in Evian’s water, there is no reason to believe that the Cachat Spring is safe from contamination from other chemicals as long as chemical-intensive agriculture and land management is the norm.

As of 2020, chlorothalonil use is banned in the EU. However, long-distance transport is evidently responsible for the contamination of Cachat Spring water, and the presence of currently used pesticides in the Arctic is evidence of cause for concern. It is particularly worrisome that groundwater, as a principal source of drinking water, is increasingly found to be contaminated with pesticides, even those used far from the site where the groundwater is withdrawn. Action is required worldwide, and we are urging Danone to become a leader in protecting the environment and its brand.

Evian should protect the purity of its water by supporting Beyond Pesticides’ international campaign to transition to organic agriculture. This effort not only protects groundwater, but it confronts the apocalyptic challenges we face as a global community with the climate crisis and the devastation of biodiversity. In the short-term, Danone should protect its consumers and its integrity by using filtration to remove chemical contaminants and labeling when they cannot be removed. However, using filtration is only a limited short-term fix that does not address underlying chemical dependency on hazardous and persistent pesticides that are not needed for land management. 

Tell Evian to protect water quality and the integrity of its purity claim by prominently supporting a worldwide shift to organic agriculture and land management.

Thank YOU for all you do,
— The Beyond Pesticides Team

Letter to Antoine Portmann, President and General Manager, Danone Waters of America,

I am writing in reaction to findings that chlorothalonil transformation products have been found in Evian’s bottled water. Chlorothalonil is a dangerous, highly toxic pesticide. As a probable human carcinogen, there is no safe dose. The transformation products found in Evian bottled water can be removed by carbon filtration, but such treatment results in contaminated carbon and places the burden of removal on Evian, rather than the chemical companies.

Although other pesticides have not been found so far in Evian’s water, there is no reason to believe that the Cachat Spring is safe from contamination from other chemicals. The answer is not to simply ban another toxic pesticide, only to be followed by another toxic pesticide, but make foundational changes to agriculture and land management with a shift to organic practices. I am writing to implore Evian and the Danone company to prominently support a worldwide shift to organic agriculture and land management.

The Evian company is a victim of outdated, antiquated farming and land management practices, supported by the chemical industry that is poisoning the water supply worldwide. Evian bottled water is supposed to be so pure that scientists will calibrate their measuring devices with it. The fact that even the Evian springs in the French Alps, which are protected from most human impacts, contain pesticide residues is alarming and demonstrates that pesticides cannot be controlled. Evian, as a purveyor of “pure” water for people who are concerned about the contamination of their own local water supplies, should take actions to protect its water supply not through a chemical-by-chemical response, but with holistic and systemic change.

As of 2020, chlorothalonil use is banned in the EU. However, long-distance transport is evidently responsible for the contamination of Cachat Spring water, and the presence of currently used pesticides in the Arctic is evidence of cause for concern. It is particularly worrisome that groundwater, as a principal source of drinking water, is increasingly found to be contaminated with pesticides, even those used far from the site where the groundwater is withdrawn. Action is required worldwide.

I request that Evian protect the purity of its water by supporting Beyond Pesticides’ international campaign to transition to organic agriculture and land management. This effort not only protects groundwater, but it confronts the apocalyptic challenges we face as a global community with the climate crisis and the devastation of biodiversity. In the short-term,

Danone should protect its consumers and its integrity by using filtration to remove chemical contaminants and labeling when they cannot be removed. However, using filtration is only a limited short-term fix that does not address underlying chemical dependency on hazardous and persistent pesticides that are not needed for land management. The company should protect its consumers and its integrity by using filtration to remove chemical contaminants and labeling when they cannot be removed.

The contamination caused by toxic pesticide use, no longer needed to grow food or manage land safely and economically, has cascading effects and requires an urgent holistic response. I am asking you— will Danone become a leader in advancing organic agriculture and land management?

Thank you, in advance, for your response.

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