Wide media coverage points to “contamination of nearly the whole French population, including children, by heavy metals”, and says breakfast cereals are the main source of cadmium, because of phosphate fertilisers. The documents published by Public Health France are less directly accusatory, but do state that cadmium levels in the French population increased from 2006-2007 to 2014-2016 and are higher than in other European countries or North America. The official website states that breakfast cereals increase cadmium levels in children, with fish, shellfish and smoking being important other sources for adults. Nearly half the French population show cadmium levels higher than that recommended by the French national health and environment agency ANSES. The official study report (ESTEBAN) indicates that in 2019 this agency (ANSES) recommended to reduce population exposure to cadmium, in particular in mineral phosphate fertiliser and organic soil amendments such as sewage biosolids. The ESTEBAN report quotes INERIS 2017 “reduction of cadmium in fertilisers seems to meet economic rather than technical obstacles”.
SantéPubliqueFrance press release 1/7/2021 here.