“We make a hummingbird effort and we take it in the face”

Xavier lives with his pregnant partner and son in Irigny, south of Lyon. For six years they have lived 4 km downstream from the Arkema factory in Pierre-Bénite. Like many others, he discovered that his air and his soil, south of Lyon, were potentially contaminated with perfluor last week. Since then, he has commuted between fear and anger. We gathered his testimony.

“I heard the news from my neighbor, who came to see us one evening, completely devastated. Suddenly I saw the report from Vert de Rage about Special Envoy, and then I ask. My first reaction was to ask myself: are we safe here? ? Were we wise to settle in this country? Together with my partner and my son we live in Irigny, 4 km from the Arkema factory in Pierre-Bénite. My boyfriend is pregnant. However, the program first shows that there is an occurrence of perfluorinated in breast milk.

Such news may call into question the life plan we have chosen here in the House.

Perfluorinated: what are we talking about?

Perfluorins (also called PFAS) are a family of complex chemical compounds that include 4,730 synthetic compounds. They are used because of their non-stick, anti-stain, flame retardant, water-repellent, anti-greasy properties and are found in our daily lives (cosmetics, stove, etc.). In Pierre-Bénite, their use dates back to 1960 to make a thermoplastic similar to Teflon, which required the use of PFOA, a perfluoride that is considered to be carcinogenic. They are part of what are called “eternal pollutants”. Since the survey conducted by the Vert de Rage team, new water controls have been announced by the prefecture and Metropolis Lyon. The results should be known soon.

Perfluorinated pollution south of Lyon: “I bought bottles of water, dead in my soul”

The first fear was for the children. We still believe that breast milk is “good”, but we are in doubt now.

Afterwards, when we settled down, we knew there were risks. It is obvious that these pollutants are everywhere. Well, we ask ourselves the question.

We were at least partially reassured by the state of the water. We were told that the water came from the Crépieux-Charmy catchment area [situé entre Villeurbanne et Vaulx-en-Velin, ndlr]. When in doubt, I bought bottles anyway. Death in the soul. I hate it, it goes against my values, but I did not hesitate. I bought it in a can. I still have a family. do you imagine? I have a little boy of three years. I’m telling myself that I may have “contaminated” it all these years here. I should not blame myself, but hey, anyway!

South of Lyon: “I say to myself that my country is spared, with my conviction of being ignorant”

For the air and for the earth, it’s a different story. Is my country perhaps spared? We live on an old quarry. Maybe it makes pollution harder. At least that’s what I’m saying to myself with my conviction of being ignorant. Afterwards, I do not have many illusions. The points where the samples were taken are quite close. The Pierre-Bénite football pitch is next door.

As for the air, we know it is polluted. We want access to tests to know if our environment is healthy. We also do not know exactly how it happens … And then we realize that we live in the Vallée de la Chimie.

What bothers us is to tell ourselves that we are trying to make a small hummingbird effort to improve the situation and that we will eventually get really angry.

We have a kitchen garden with potatoes, tomatoes, we make our compost, we make an effort for our energy consumption … In short, we are not perfect, but we try to be in an ecological transformation logic. Besides that, we have neighbors who pollute the air, the navy and the ground.

Revelations about perfluorinated chemicals south of Lyon: “I want there to be a trial and Arkema moving”

When I heard the news, I was first scared and then angry. Fear of my family, anger because I feel they do not care.

I find it absurd that the factory has the right to continue its activity after such revelations.

In addition, there have been similar scandals in the US, the Netherlands and Italy. We know we manufacture the same products as these countries. It was clear that we would have the same consequences. For me, Arkema should be mindful.

I have the impression that there was a will to close my eyes.

I want there to be a lawsuit and for Arkema to move. I know the factory is creating jobs, but hey, we have to find a solution. Whatever happens, we now know we are talking about eternal pollutants.

I think we will still harvest our products from the kitchen garden this summer. It has always been watered with rainwater. I say to myself that it’s better than if it was water from the Rhone. In addition, it is on an artificial terrace, slightly raised, with rubble. I still hope that the topology of the terrain helps us. The conviction of the ignorant. »

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