Evian, ultra-pure water with pesticide residues. Scientific study


Evian, ‘purest’ water with pesticide residues. A Swiss scientific study-published in Water Research-leads one to ponder the ability of agrotoxics to reach even ecosystems hitherto believed to be intact.

Researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology(Eawag) found 6 ngL of chlorothalonil residues in Evian water. (1) An amount ‘in accordance with the law’ but higher than that found in Lake Zurich.

A dangerous pesticide

Chlorothalonil is a broad-spectrum fungicide that has been widely used for more than 40 years in agriculture (especially on wheat, barley, tomatoes, and potatoes) and floriculture (turfgrasses). Marketed under the names Bravo, Echo and Daconil, it is also found in other multimolecule products. Controlling production globally are Syngenta, Sds Biotech, Shandong Dacheng Pesticide, Suli Chemical, Sipcam Oxon, Xinhe Agricultural Chemical, Rallis India Limited, Abi Chemicals, Bayer, and Gfs Chemicals.

First authorized in 1966 in the United States, the pesticide has been banned in Europe since Nov. 1, 2019 due to its toxicity-potential endocrine disruptor, harmful to amphibians and fish-on the environment, wildlife and humans. In Italy, the use of plant protection products based on the active substance chlorothalonil, was allowed until 20.5.20. (2)

A blow to luxury water

The contamination of Evian water speaks volumes about the pervasiveness of agrotoxics. In fact, the flow that gushes out at the spring in the town of Evian-les-Bains comes from snow and rain that are deposited on the glacial plateau of Gavot in Chablais, French Alps, after natural rock filtration.

For Danone, the brand’s owner, the discovery of the pesticide is a blow to the reputation of its highly reputed water, 4 million liters of which are bottled every day.

‘The original purity of natural mineral water is our top priority, Evian.com

Marketing and sustainability

Evian water is promoted around the world as a luxury product, including through bottles signed by top designers (Christian Lacroix, Paul Smith, Issey Miyake, Diane Von Furstenberg), now by influencers (Chiara Ferragni).

The brand’s current relaunch veers toward sustainability, with the use of 100% recycled and recyclable PET bottles, devoid of the label and stamped with the brand name. Next step, recycled caps.


(1) Karin Kiefer, Tobias Bader, Nora Minas, Elisabeth Salhi, Elisabeth M.-L. Janssen, Urs von Gunten, Juliane Hollender, Chlorothalonil transformation products in drinking water resources: Widespread and challenging to abate, Water Research, Volume 183, 2020, 116066, ISSN 0043-1354, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.watres.2020.116066

(2) See Regulation (EU) 2019/677 establishing non-renewal of the active substance chlorothalonil because the approval criteria in Article 4 of Regulation (EC) No. 1107/2009 are no longer satisfied. See also the statement from the Ministry of Health

Marta Strinati

Professional journalist since January 1995, he has worked for newspapers (Il Messaggero, Paese Sera, La Stampa) and periodicals (NumeroUno, Il Salvagente). She is the author of journalistic surveys on food, she has published the book "Reading labels to know what we eat".