Following the intensive development of banana cultivation, a pest has multiplied in the plantations: the weevil. Reducing the productivity of the farms, the planters used a powerful pesticide to fight against the plague: chlordecone. This molecule has a very long life span. Thus, a large part of the agricultural lands, rivers and seashores have been polluted, and this for several centuries. The consumption of chlordecon products increases the risk of cancer (especially of the prostate).
Although the danger of this pesticide has been proven, the pressure of the planters has allowed it to be used much longer than in mainland France.
Not all agricultural productions are equally sensitive. Vegetables growing in the soil are particularly contaminated. On the other hand, there is almost no chlordecone in products growing in the ground, even when they have grown on polluted soil. This health scandal has contributed to the cessation of Creole gardens in some families, for fear of contamination. In addition, the rural exodus has resulted in the decrease of this practice
Currently, families who wish to do so can have the soil in their garden tested for chlordecone free of charge. This is the JAFA program (Jardins Familliaux)