At the beginning of the year, 57 inhabitants of Tréduder (Côtes-d’Armor) agreed to have their urine analyzed as part of the investigative program “Vert de rage”, broadcast on France 5.
The results were positive was presented on September 12, 2020 show this result:
Twelve of them have levels of cadmium , a heavy carcinogenic metal , higher than the standards recommended by ANSES.
Cadmium: 57 urine samples were screened
The 57 urine samples were provided by Bretons, aged 47 to 75. They were then analyzed by Dr. Joël Poupon, from the biological toxicology laboratory of the Lariboisière hospital (Paris), and Marie-Duigou, a student at the University of Western Brittany.
The scientists discovered that 12 participants had levels higher than the recommendations by ANSES, which are 0.5 micrograms of cadmium per gram of creatine. This represents 20% of the sample .
“I would like to know where this carcinogenic product comes from , what I have to change in my daily life, she wonders.
I already pay attention to a lot of things: I travel by bike, I cook, I eat organic, I prepare my own laundry because one of my children has eczema.
I have a quality living environment in Saint-Malo “, confided Marie Reiholdt, participant of the experience to our colleagues of the World.
Fertilizers and potatoes also tested
Humans are not the only ones with high levels of Cadmium. 24 batches of potatoes from the Brittany region were scrutinized by the experts.
The majority of tubers contained twice as much of the carcinogen as the French average.
Otherwise, 39% of the samples showed higher rates than potatoes from other regions.
The laboratory in partnership with the report from France 5 also tested 6 fertilizers , used in French agriculture.
5 of them had higher cadmium contents than ANSES recommendations (20 mg per kg). In addition, three exceeded the standard of 60 mg per kg authorized in France.
Questions about the risks
Journalist Martin Boudot worked on this worrying subject after discovering the existence of cadmium pollution.
“It all started in Morocco, where we discovered that because of the pollution generated by the phosphate fertilizer industry, the water and shellfish contained a lot of cadmium,” he told Le Parisien.
Many environmentalists are worried about the results of the study.
Joël Labbé, environmental senator from Morbihan present at the meeting presenting the results, recalled that “many farmers are unaware that fertilizers contain cadmium”.
A worrying finding, because Cadmium, classified as a carcinogenic element, has many harmful effects on the body.
Last July, ANSES recalled ” cadmium is a very widespread contaminant in the environment in its natural state and due to human activity, particularly agricultural and industrial.
It easily penetrates plants through their roots and between thus in the food chain “.
This is all the more problematic as this heavy metal is not harmless. “Cadmium has toxic effects on the kidneys, the skeleton and the respiratory system and is classified as carcinogenic to humans”, recalls the World Health Organization on its website.
It is, among other things, suspected of playing a role in the development of prostate and kidney cancers .
In addition, a study conducted in the United States in 2006 had also highlighted a link between the toxic substance and breast cancer .
According to their work, women who had high cadmium levels in their urine were twice as likely to develop carcinogenic breast tumors compared to those who had low cadmium levels.
The heavy metal could also affect reproduction and induce renal damage and bone fragility during prolonged exposure.
After his investigation, journalist Martin Boudot believes that “it would be good to broaden” his research “in particular to children, whom ANSES says are particularly exposed”.
The potatoes are not the only foods exposed to cadmium. ANSES has sounded the alarm on algae intended for food , particularly those used in lemurs .
The health organization explained in its press release: “Rich in polysaccharides, algae tend to be loaded with trace metal elements, such as cadmium, lead or arsenic.
The 250 or so samples analyzed for non-algae processed show cadmium concentrations exceeding, for 26% of them, the maximum value of 0.5 mg / kg of dry weight recommended by the CHSPF (Higher Council of Public Hygiene of France, NDLR) “.
For the agency, it is important to regulate the level of the metal in food algae.
It therefore proposes a maximum level of 0.35 milligrams per kilogram of dry matter. “This content ensures, in 95% of cases, that the tolerable daily intake of cadmium is not exceeded,” she assures in her document.
Other dishes are in the sights of health professionals.
“The foods that contribute the most to exposure to cadmium are breads and dry bread products, potatoes and their derivatives, vegetables , shellfish [most contaminated foods, note]”, explains the center of fight against cancer Léon Bérard.
You should also be wary of green leafy plants such as salads, cabbage and spinach, and rice.
Smokers are exposed to cadmium
The cigarettes contain this harmful element. “The exposure is in the form of fine particles of cadmium oxide, which can be deposited in the pulmonary alveoli“, recalls the center for the fight against cancer.