PARIS: 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 site 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”.