OOSKAnews reports: New research by Sri Lankan medical professionals has identified high amounts of the herbicide glyphosate as the culprit behind the high levels of chronic kidney disease in the country’s North Central province and other key rice-producing areas.
The researchers found that glyphosate, which is widely used in paddy cultivation to prepare the soil, has the capacity to retain arsenic and other heavy metals in water.
Their report was presented to Special Projects Minister S. M. Chandrasena on February 5. The researchers urged the government to take immediate action to ban imports of the harmful agro-chemical. They said the prevalence of end-stage renal failure is reaching epidemic levels in the country.
Dr. Channa Jayasumana, a senior lecturer at the Medical Faculty of Rajarata University and the lead researcher, said: “The chemical glyphosate mixed with hard water lasted for about 20 years.”
“The toxins contained in agro-chemicals are deposited in hard water found in North Central Province, and they will remain in the human body for over six years,” he added.
Jayasumana said that in 2012, Sri Lanka had imported nearly 500,000 metric tonnes of glyphosate, which was developed by US-based international agricultural giant Monsanto. Monsanto’s patent for the broad-spectrum herbicide, marketed under the brand name “Roundup,” expired in 2000.
Jayasumana claimed Monsanto was aware of the health risks, but had not educated poor farmers and people living in areas where rice is cultivated to take precautions to prevent disease. [Continue reading…]