Cheick Saidou /

France has been committed for several years to a voluntary reduction in the dependence on phytosanitary products and to reducing the impact of their use. As part of this, France is introducing complementary measures starting in 2020 to protect resident populations of agricultural treatment zones.

Based on the scientific recommendations of ANSES (a French agency whose main mission is to assess health risks in the areas of food, the environment and work), and after consultation with actors in the industry, the French government is making security distances between treatment zones and homes mandatory.

Regulatory texts with detailed requirements will be published later this year. With this tool, France becomes one of the first European countries to put in place a national framework for the protection of residents in agricultural zones.

Security distances must be respected around inhabited places when farmers treat their crops with chemicals. These distances are based on scientific evidence and are independently formulated by ANSES in a June 14, 2019, opinion:

  • For the substances of most concern (some authorized pesticides, whose impacts on human health and environment may be important if misused) : 20 meters (about 60 feet)
  • For other phytosanitary products, not including biocontrol products (natural products), basic substances and low risk products: 10 meters (around 30 feet) for physically high crops (wine-making and trees, primarily), and 5 meters (about 15 feet) for others