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Last updated: 17 September, 2007 - Published 21:48 GMT
 
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Pesticide warning for Antilles
 
Banned pesticide Chlordecone not used on banana crop since 2002
Banned pesticide Chlordecone not used on banana crop since 2002
A cancer specialist has warned of a health disaster in the French Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique caused by the use of the pesticide Chlordecone.

Professor Dominique Belpomme will deliver a report commissioned by the French National Assembly on Tuesday, warning of soaring cancer and infertility rates because of the use of banned pesticides on banana plantations.

Chlordecone was banned in the French Caribbean territories in 1993, but the pesticide was used illegally on banana crops often sprayed by aeroplanes up to 2002.

The pesticide entered both land and water contaminating the food chain especially water.

The cancer specialist said once Chlordecone enters the soil it can stay there for up to a century.

rising rates of cancer

Professor Belpomme told BBC Caribbean his research revealed a link between the pesticide and rising rates of cancer, congenital malformation and infertility, particularly in Martinique.

“There is a contamination of Chlordecone of the soil, water and the sea coast. Now we have to pay for this contamination with some diseases, especially prostate cancer, and leukaemia. The incidences of both cancers are very high in Martinique."

Professor Belpomme said “we can make a causal link between Chlordecone and cancer.”

However, according to Agence France-Presse, Christian Choupin, the head of Martinique and Guadeloupe Banana Producers Association, has dismissed the cancer specialist's findings.

Jean Philippe Ludon, a journalist in Martinique told BBC Caribbean consumers are concerned about Professor Belpomme’s report, but doctors in Martinique were questioning the findings.

 
 
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