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The use of pesticides in French viticulture: a badly controlled technology transfer!


The use of pesticides is one of the techniques employed in modern agriculture and in particular in intensive agriculture. The risks for the environment and for worker health have been debated in western countries for about ten years. Recent developments in epidemiology, toxicology and ergotoxicology have clearly revealed that pesticides could harm the health of farmers (cancers, neurological diseases and reproductive disorders). Failures and shortcomings in the risk prevention systems have also come to light. This paper aims to address the risks associated to the use of pesticides in French vineyards. The chosen approach draws from an anthropological approach as well as from developments in ergotoxicology applied to the French vineyard work. We shall discuss the use of pesticides from the point of view of the transfer of technology. Our recent research has shown that this technology transfer was not completely controlled by the different stakeholders.