The enduring fallout of nuclear tests on French Polynesia

France — Report

Over a period of three decades beginning in 1966, France detonated 193 nuclear bombs in atmospheric and undergound tests in its overseas territory of French Polynesia in the South Pacific. The vast fallout from the explosions caused tens of thousands of cancers among the local population according to victims’ associations, although the true, and possibly much larger, toll remains unknown. Meanwhile, the French and local authorities continue to dismiss evidence of the transmission of illnesses to the children of those directly exposed to the nuclear tests. Julien Sartre reports from French Polynesia.

The toxic progression of agrochemicals in France

France — Investigation

The European Union on Monday gave the go-ahead to extend the licence for sales of the herbicide glyphosate, recognised by the World Health Organisation as “probably carcinogenic to humans”, for a further five years. The French government, which voted against move, has decided to unilaterally limit the licence to market glyphosate to three years. But France remains Europe’s biggest user, by volume, of agrochemicals, including many considered by scientific studies to present a health risk. Mediapart, in partnership with online journal Mediacités, details here, region by region and with interactive charts, their sales in France by volume, which in turn provides an indication of where they are most employed.

French feminists lambast council over 'sexist' health booklet cover

France — Link

Bouches-du-Rhône council will replace image showing a boy wanting to get taller and a girl worried about her weight, at cost of €33,000.

French government minister resigns over poor health

France — Link

Duties of Geneviève Fioraso as minister for higher education and research will be taken on by education minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem.

French turn to UK for health care insurance

France — Link

Thousands of French people have taken out private insurance with UK companies amid growing frustration with 'sick' public system.

France won’t cut spending on health care amid high social-security debt load

France — Link

Health minister Marisol Touraine says health care spending will be maintained despite President Hollande's new pledge to reduce welfare 'abuses'.

French wine tax plans will ‘cork the industry’

France — Link

Furious wine makers launch campaign against tax hike and tighter advertising rules they claim would be 'very bad for the image of France'.

Tour de France cyclists 'live longer' than general population

France — Link

Study finds French riders in the Tour de France live an average six years longer than the general population and die less of cardiovascular problems.

France considers electronic cigarette ban in public places

France — Link

Medical experts insist that the increasingly popular e-cigarettes should be subject to the same restrictions as tobacco smoking.

The secret to why the French live longer - Roquefort cheese

France — Link

Eating the ripened cheese could help guard against cardiovascular disease despite its high fat and salt content, according to new research.

French rocker back in US after health scare

Culture-Idées — Link

Veteran French star Johnny Hallyday  has returned to Los Angeles, where he has a home, from the Caribbean, where he was treated in hospital.

The French farmers fighting the deadly pesticide taboo

France — Report

Last month, French cereal farmer Paul François, 47, won a lengthy legal battle against US biotech giant Monsanto in a landmark ruling by a court in Lyon that could open a floodgate of complaints by farmers for chemical poisoning. François was found to have become severely handicapped as a direct result of his contamination by Lasso, a powerful herbicide produced by Monsanto. France is Europe’s biggest user, by volume, of pesticides, and worldwide only India and the United States use more. For François and other campaigners seeking to alert farmers to the dangers of chemical-based phytosanitary products, their battle targets not only the clout of the industrial lobby and a reluctance of the medical profession to recognise the illnesses caused by pesticides, but also a silent taboo among the farming community itself. Claire Le Nestour reports.