Par Raymond Bonhomme

samedi 15 décembre 2007
 Raymond Bonhomme

Dans la publication de S.S. Epstein « Kepone – Hasard Evaluation » dans The Science of the Total Environment, (1978, 9, 1-62), certains paragraphes concernent les précautions à prendre vis-à-vis de ce produit (Kepone est un nom commercial du chlordécone). Les citations suivantes sont extraites des pages 5 et suivantes « Safety precautions recommended by Allied Chemical » (Allied Chemical est une société américaine qui a produit environ 825 tonnes de Kepone entre 1951 et 1974).

a) Allied Chemical, 1958.

One of the earliest available references to precautions recommended by Allied was apparently issued in 1958. This presented LD50 values (“doses létales”) in rats and rabbits and described “typical DDT-like tremors even as long as 4 weeks after the exposure” ; this reference appeared in a standard toxicological text published in 1959.

b) Information provided to Nease Chemical Co. (un autre industriel en Pennsylvanie), 1958

… Attached to this letter was an undated Allied document entitled “Development Information Bulletin 6-58 Kepone”. This summarized the chemistry of kepone, pest control results, recommended dosage, and cautions in handling formulations. The document states :

IMPORTANT : The chemical physical and toxicological properties of this product have not been fully investigated and its handling or use may present additional hazards.


May cause irritation of eyes, nose, throat and skin.

May be harmful if inhaled or swallowed.

Avoid breathing spray mist or fumes.

Avoid contact with skin, eyes, or clothing.

g) Draft Kepone Safety and Handling Precautions and First Aid Procedures

… It is toxic if taken by mouth, if inhaled or absorbed through the skin, particularly from solutions. Prolonged or repeated exposure by any route of entry increases the danger of toxic effect. Accordingly, strict hygiene procedures must be followed when working with this material.

… Shoes contaminated with solution cannot be adequately cleaned and should be discarded.

… Good personal hygiene is important. Wash thoroughly with soap and water after handling and before eating or smoking. Employees should be provided with double lockers to keep street clothes and work clothes separate and they should not be permitted to wear contaminated work clothes to their home…

J’imagine, ou plutôt j’espère, que les femmes et hommes qui ont transporté, stocké, et surtout épandu manuellement le chlordécone autour des troncs de bananiers avaient été informés de la dangerosité de ce produit, et ont donc suivi ces précautions édictées dès les années cinquante.

Raymond Bonhomme