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‘There is a list of approved pesticides,’ says Roberta.
‘The vine-growers often live on their own land, so they take particular care what they put on the plants.’‘But we have done scientific tests on the people who live near vineyards, and the percentage who have cancer or chemical traces in their bodies is the same as we would expect in the normal population.’‘I have lived here for 42 years and the problems are recent,’ she says.
When the tubes got too full the water was then pumped to the other side of the tube.
As the flooding continues, water has to be continually pumped outside the barrier, which requires human labor.
Three children, one resident claims, have developed leukaemia, two women have died of ovarian cancer and one has contracted Parkinson’s disease.
Contains: Traces of three pesticides, including the highest residue in all five bottles tested of fluopicolide (0.021 mg/litre), a fungicide used to treat potato blight which has been classified as a ‘possible liver, kidney and spleen toxicant’. Contains: Traces of two pesticides, including 0.14 mg/litre of metalaxyl, which at higher quantities can irritate the skin and eyes and has been linked with possible liver damage. Contains: Traces of four pesticides, and is the only bottle to contain dimethomorph (0.01mg/l), a mould-killer classified as ‘slightly toxic’ to mammals.
When it starts to flood, pumps move the water from the flooded area to inside the tubes, and the weight from that water acts as a barrier, similar to a sandbag.
The only safe level is zero.’Certainly, some families who live in and around the Veneto vineyards say the prosecco boom has ruined their health.Products containing this normally bear a warning label. Asda says: ‘We try to avoid using chemicals near our produce as much as possible.To protect the grapes that go into our prosecco from damage and ensure they remain healthy, a very low level of industry-certified pesticides are used.’It is made from the sweet, aromatic glera grape, which was originally pressed and fermented just once, producing a still wine, until in 1868, a chemist, Antonio Carpene, decided to experiment and add bubbles.‘Now the grape juice is placed in huge stainless steel containers with sugar and yeast.When they moved here 20 years ago, green fields surrounded their house; today it is all vines.‘They spray pesticides on the plants once a week but each grower does it on a different day, so every day the air is filled with chemicals,’ says Sandra. Many times I have become sick and collapsed because of the pesticides. In the next village, Farra di Soligo, six families have been forced out of their homes because of the clouds of pesticides that hang in the air and are sprayed next to nurseries, primary schools and community centres.Locals complain of respiratory problems, thyroid disorders and even tumours.