Sanofi shuts down factory over toxic waste outcry

July 10, 2018 by Etienne Balmer
French pharmaceutical Sanofi shut down its Mourenx plant after an environmental watchdog group claimed that the site has been emitting "dangerous material at astronomical levels"

French pharmaceuticals group Sanofi announced late Monday an immediate halt in production at a chemical factory in southwest France, in the wake of media reports that toxic waste emissions exceeded the norms.

"Sanofi Chemical has decided from today to stop production at its Mourenx and to carry out the announced technical improvements needed to return to normal," the group said in a brief statement.

It added that it was conducting an internal inquiry "to better understand the causes and history of the situation."

Earlier Monday, Sanofi had admitted there was "a problem of exceeding the threshold for the vapour waste of solvents," but it insisted that the local population was not exposed to levels higher than those laid down by regulation, a finding it said was determined by an independent health impact study.

The Mourenx factory with around 50 employees has been at the heart of an environmental outcry since Sunday.

France Nature Environment (FNE) said in a statement that the site has been emitting "dangerous material at astronomical levels".

FNE, a federation of some 3,500 environmental associations, claims that in reality the factory's emissions are "7,000 times more than the authorised norm... sending astronomical quantities of pollutants into the air".

FNE and a local group Sepanso 64 had demanded the immediate shutdown of the factory, noting in particular that the compound bromopropane in the emissions can hurt fertility or the foetus, and also irritate a person's respiratory system and the skin.

Sanofi meanwhile said that it has already instituted an action plan to collect and treat the waste to significantly reduce it and that it had planned 10 days ago to carry out summer maintenance of the site.

Explore further: US firm Advent to buy Sanofi's generics unit

Related Stories

US firm Advent to buy Sanofi's generics unit

April 17, 2018
US private equity firm Advent International has agreed to acquire Zentiva, French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi's European generics arm, for 1.9 billion euros ($2.4 billion), a statement said Tuesday.

Sanofi builds $75 mn factory in Vietnam for ASEAN markets

March 29, 2013
French drugmaker Sanofi said Friday that it had begun building a new manufacturing facility in Vietnam to serve the expanding pharmaceutical market in southeast Asia.

France's Sanofi buys biotech company Ablynx for $4.8 billion

January 29, 2018
French drugmaker Sanofi has made another big purchase aimed at strengthening its position in rare disease treatments, buying Belgian biotech company Ablynx for 3.9 billion euros ($4.8 billion).

Sanofi sues US company over diabetes drug patent rights

October 25, 2017
French drugmaker Sanofi said it is suing a US pharmaceuticals company for allegedly infringing the patent on its key insulin treatment as sales of its diabetes drugs are falling.

France's Sanofi faces class action suit over epilepsy drug

December 13, 2016
An association of French women who took an epilepsy drug during pregnancy said Tuesday they would launch a class action against its maker, Sanofi.

Sanofi buys US flu vaccine maker Protein for $750 mln

July 11, 2017
French pharmaceuticals giant Sanofi, which is looking to boost its presence in biotechnology, said Tuesday it had agreed to buy the privately-owned US vaccines maker Protein Sciences for up to $750 million (658 million euros).

Recommended for you

Novel botulinum toxin compound relieves chronic pain

July 18, 2018
A modified form of botulinum toxin gives long-lasting pain relief in mice without adverse effects and, in time, could replace opioid drugs as a safe and effective way of treating chronic pain, according to research by UCL, ...

FDA recalls heart medication valsartan, citing cancer concerns

July 17, 2018
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a voluntary recall of several medications that contain the active ingredient valsartan, which is used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure.

Opioids given too easily to children: study

July 16, 2018
(HealthDay)—Many children are prescribed powerful opioid painkillers they don't really need, putting them and those around them at risk, a new study shows.

Study reveals opioid patients face multiple barriers to treatment

July 12, 2018
In areas of the country disproportionately affected by the opioid crisis, treatment programs are less likely to accept patients paying through insurance of any type or accept pregnant women, a new Vanderbilt study found.

Report details possible conflict of interest issues for FDA advisors

July 6, 2018
Charles Piller, a contributing correspondent for the journal Science, has published a Feature piece in the journal detailing what he describes as possible conflicts of interest issues by people who serve as advisors to the ...

Opioid epidemic responses overlook gender

July 5, 2018
Yale health experts warn that current efforts to confront the growth of opioid addiction and overdose deaths must better incorporate an understanding of how women fit into this epidemic.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.