Health minister issues warning to Guadeloupe and Martinque

PARIS, France, September 18, 2007 – Residents of the French territories of Martinique and Guadeloupe are being warned to limit their intake of pesticide sprayed vegetables from gardens and to avoid spring water.

The warning comes from France’s health minister, Roselyne Bachelot, on the heels of a report by French cancer researcher Dr. Dominique Belpomme of Georges-Pompidou hospital in Paris.

Dr. Belpomme, in his study, claims the banned pesticide Chlordecone and weedkiller paraquat has polluted the soil on the islands and may also be linked to the islands cancer rates.

“The level of prostate cancers is major — the (French) Antilles are ranked second in the world,” Belpomme told the Le Parisien newspaper, adding, “We can make a causal link between Chlordecone and cancer.”

Still Minister Bachelot is tolling the warning bell, adding that she will soon travel to the Antilles to set up a committee of experts to study the health risks of pesticides and weed-killers on the dependent territories. –