Affected farmers will be able to claim a victim’s compensation fund if they have worked for 10 years in contact with chlordecone and if they have been ill less than 40 years after being exposed to it.
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It has been an extremely sensitive issue in the West Indies for years. Prostate cancers linked to exposure to chlordecone, this pesticide widely used in banana plantations from 1972 to 1993, are now recognized as an occupational disease, according to a decree published on Wednesday, December 22 in the Official Journal. This measure is part of a series of actions carried out by the State to repair this “environmental scandal”, in the words of Emmanuel Macron. In 2020, a fund was created to compensate people with diseases linked to pesticides.
Chlordecone was authorized between 1972 and 1993 in the banana plantations of the West Indies and infiltrated the soils for hundreds of years, polluting water and agricultural production, while its toxicity and its persistent power in the environment had been known since the 1970s. 1960s. More than 90% of the adult population in Guadeloupe and Martinique is currently contaminated by chlordecone, according to Public Health France.
The government has not estimated how many people could be affected by this compensation, or the total amount. But all farmers or agricultural employees will be able to apply for this status on two conditions: that they have worked for at least ten years in contact with chlordecone, and that less than forty years have elapsed between their last exposure and the diagnosis of cancer of the prostate.