“State services have committed culpable negligence by allowing the sale of the same antiparasitic specialty containing 5% chlordecone”, under various names, and “by authorizing the continuation of sales beyond the legally provided deadlines in the event of withdrawal of approval”, according to this decision rendered on Friday.

Chlordecone, a pesticide banned in France in 1990 but which continued to be authorized in the banana fields of Martinique and Guadeloupe by ministerial derogation until 1993, caused significant and long-lasting pollution of the two islands.

More than 90% of the adult population in Guadeloupe and Martinique is contaminated with chlordecone, according to Public Health France.

However, the administrative court considered that “with the exception of their presence in Martinique or Guadeloupe for at least twelve months since 1973, the applicants do not mention any personal and detailed element making it possible to justify the loss of anxiety they prevail”.

Consequently, “the claims for compensation presented by the applicants must be rejected”, indicates the judgment.

In addition, according to the administrative court “the applicants are not justified in maintaining that the State would have delayed in the implementation of measures for the protection of the populations or that the information disseminated would have been contradictory”, adds the administrative court.

For Me Christophe Lèguevaques, who represents the 1,240 applicants, this decision is however a “decisive step forward”.

“This can be used in the criminal case of chlordecone. Whereas until now, we had in front of us manufacturers or distributors of this product who said: I only distributed an authorized product, so you cannot nothing against me, there, we have a court which tells us that the authorizations of the 70s were illegal and therefore are likely to involve the responsibility of the State, but also can call into question the responsibility of the distributors”, explains the lawyer.

Other proceedings are currently underway regarding the use of chlordecone in the West Indies, including a poisoning complaint filed sixteen years ago. However, the two investigating judges of the public health center of the Paris court announced on March 25 to the complaining communities and associations their intention to close this file without issuing an indictment, thus directing it towards a possible dismissal. .

Me Lèguevaques intends to appeal to obtain recognition of the prejudice of anxiety, like what the victims of asbestos obtained.