From banana fields to the deep blue: Assessment of chlordecone contamination of oceanic cetaceans in the eastern Caribbean
In the French West Indies (Caribbean), the insecticide Chlordecone (CLD) has been extensively used to reduce banana weevil (Cosmopolites sordidus) infestations in banana plantations. Previous studies have shown high CLD concentrations in freshwater and coastal communities of the region. CLD concentrations, however, have not yet been assessed in marine top predators. We investigated CLD concentrations in cetacean blubber tissues from Guadeloupe, including Physeter macrocephalus, Lagenodelphis hosei, Stenella attenuataand Pseudorca crassidens. Chlordecone was detected in all blubber samples analysed, with the exception of four P. macrocephalus. Concentrations (range: 1 to 329 ng·g−1 of lipid weight) were, however, lower than those found in species from fresh and brackish water. Ecological factors (open ocean habitat), CLD kinetics, and cetacean metabolism (high or specific enzymatic activity) might explain low concentrations found in cetacean blubber. Future analyses that include internal organ sampling would help to confirm CLD levels observed in this study.