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As social unrest explodes in French West Indies, chlordecone is key to the crisis

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by: Tiffany Fillon

(France 24) – The current social unrest in Guadeloupe and Martinique has brought international attention back to the critical issue of chlordecone pollution in these Caribbean islands. This highly toxic insecticide, banned since 1993 throughout France and its territories, is currently undergoing intense scientific study to understand its harmful effects on the human body and ecosystems.

Chlordecone has left a permanent scar on the French West Indian population. Throughout the protests that have shaken Guadeloupe and Martinique since the end of November, this highly toxic insecticide has been named as one of the key factors behind the social unrest which was provoked by the Covid-19 situation.

France was forced to postpone implementing a vaccination mandate for health workers there after the measure spurred widespread protests on the French territories in which police officers were injured and journalists attacked. If the people in these islands are hesitant to trust the Covid-19 vaccines, it is because they have been failed by Paris on the chlordecone issue.

Former farm workers, who were exposed to this insecticide for many years in banana plantations, believe that chlordecone is directly connected to specific cancers and neurological diseases. This controversial pesticide is now the subject of several scientific studies aimed at finding out more about its effects on health and the environment.

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