MATINA - For over two decades, residents near banana plantations in Costa Rica have been exposed to pesticide sprays from planes, affecting their health and environment. Despite being banned in Europe, these chemicals are still exported to Global South for use in agriculture, where they are often used by major companies like Dole Food Company and Chiquita International.

Lidieth Gomez, a participant in a long-term study by IRET-UNA, an epidemiological study on pesticide exposure, reports adverse effects such as burning eyes and nausea from pesticide exposure, including chlorothalonil and mancozeb among others, which are linked to potential carcinogenic and neurotoxic effects.

Costa Rica's economy heavily relies on exporting bananas and pineapples. It's the world's third largest exporter of bananas, after Ecuador and the Philippines and 50% goes to Europe but this has led to severe environmental degradation, loss of biodiversity, and health risks for local communities due to the heavy pesticide use.

The investigation reveals the disparity in regulations on chemical use, allowing banned substances in Europe to be used in less affluent countries, raising concerns about ethical and health implications of such practices.


Photo: Marco Valle

Team members

Darío Chinchilla

Darío Chinchilla is an independent journalist and fact-checker based in Costa-Rica.

Darío Chinchilla

Sara Manisera

Sara Manisera is an independent reporter and author working in the Middle East.

Sara Manisera

Marco Valle

Marco Valle is a photographer focusing on environmental and social issues.

Marco Valle
€24,709 allocated on 23/11/2023


More to come


  • Costa-Rica
  • The EU

need resources for your own investigative story?

Journalismfund Europe's flexible grants programmes enable journalists to produce relevant public interest stories with a European mind-set from international, national, and regional perspectives.


support independent cross-border investigative journalism

We rely on your support to continue the work that we do. Make a gift of any amount today.