Pesticides used on conventional bananas found in caimans

Photo Credit: Matthieu Sontag, Licence CC-BY-SA. Photo Credit: Matthieu Sontag, Licence CC-BY-SA.

A new study published in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry found pesticide contamination in Costa Rican caiman blood. Researchers examined 14 adult caiman and found levels of nine pesticides in their blood samples. All nine of the detected pesticides were insecticides, and seven were classified as Persistent Organic Pollutants banned under the 2011 Stockholm Convention. The pesticide pollution is originating on conventional Costa Rican banana plantations, which provide 10 percent of the world’s banana supply and are heavy users of synthetic pesticides. Over the last two decades, pesticide use in Central America has more than doubled, leading to increased environmental and health problems. In Costa Rica, the pesticides used on banana plantations run off into the Rio Suerte, which drains into the Tortuguero Conservation Area. Unfortunately, this pesticide contamination is not isolated to caiman species, and may be affecting a wide range of organisms. Make sure to choose organic bananas to help save tropical environments from pesticide pollution!