No-spray zones divide French farmers from anxious neighbors

Concerns are rising in France over the widespread use of legal pesticides, prompting President Emmanuel Macron’s government to propose creating small buffer zones to separate sprayed crops from the people who live and work near them.

People like Corinne Despreaux, who looks after babies and toddlers at her home in the Medoc wine town of Listrac, where vineyards run up right to her garden. Activists suspect the agro-chemicals sprayed on the vineyards are linked to cancers.

When the tractors spray chemical mists to keep the grapes pest-free, Despreaux closes all windows and doors to keep the pesticides out.

France is proposing that crops treated with “the most dangerous substances” should be separated from homes, schools and workplaces by no-spray zones at least 10 meters (33 feet) wide.