1 December, 2020

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Chronic Kidney Disease Of Unknown Cause

By Charitha Ratwatte –

Charitha Ratwatte

Charitha Ratwatte

It is reported that Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown Cause (CKDu) is decimating the young male population of the North Central Province, parts of Uva Province and even reportedly in the Central Province, North Western Province and Eastern Province.

A case study has found, together with anecdotal evidence, that the most vulnerable group are men over 40 years of age, who have been working as rice farmers for over a decade. A hypothesis has emerged that consistent exposure to agro chemicals, combined with hard work in the hot sun, dehydration, hard water, and allegedly, in addition, heavy consumption of illicit liquor, among factors combined with others is the cause for this epidemic.

Chronic renal failure is a degenerative, progressive condition marked by the gradual loss of kidney function. The kidney serves the human body as a filter and once they are damaged the body can no longer remove waste and excess liquid and thereby purify the blood. In normal circumstances CKD is caused by obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. The disease has been classified as having five stages, one being the mildest and five the severest. Stages one and two lead to reversible kidney damage, while stage three and beyond cause permanent damage.

In countries such as ours, where the opportunity for dialysis treatment is limited, stages three and four will develop into stage five. Without the kidney transplant, stage five is terminal. CKD generally affects older patients. On the other hand CKDu is associated with heavy labour in hot climates particularly among agricultural worker, such as those working in rice cultivation.

CKDu affects young men. In the first stages deteriorating kidney function causes symptoms such as general fatigue and loss of appetite. For this reason young patients do not realise that that they have CKDu until they are already very sick and have sustained irreversible kidney damage. Because the renal function declines at a gradual rate, death from CKDu is often slow and extremely painful.

The experience is extremely traumatic not only for the workers but also for their families who are frequently unable to afford the cost of transportation to a medical facility with dialysis services and the cost of treatment itself. CKDu is optimally treated with either dialysis or a kidney transplant. Both are expensive and difficult processes unavailable to thousands of poor patients affected.

Padaviya: A patient in every farming family

In Sri Lanka’s rice bowl, areas such as Padaviya, patients diagnosed with CKDu, whose very survival depends on dialysis, when referred to the Anuradhapura Base Hospital, where dialysis services are available, mostly are simply taken home to die, as they cannot afford the cost of travelling from Padaviya to Anuradhapura on a regular basis for dialysis treatment.

This was before the dialysis treatment unit was set up at Padaviya Base Hospital with donor support, an initiative by a committed medical practitioner serving at Padaviya. A round trip to Anuradhapura to Padaviya and back would cost around Rs. 5,000, including accommodation and food for an accompanying family member. This was clearly unaffordable to the subsistence rice farmers of Padaviya.

The stories of the patient’s medical histories are disturbing. A 45-year-old father of three from Weli Oya realised he was ill eight years ago when he lost his appetite and was inflicted by severe headaches and prone to attacks of dizziness. His condition has worsened in the last few years, notwithstanding treatment by dialysis on a regular basis at the Padaviya Hospital. Many families cannot afford the regular trips for dialysis and the related costs to be incurred and simply take back the chronic patient back home to die.

It has been recorded that Padaviya with a population of around 31,000 people has 2,695 CKDu patients. An adjacent area, Medawachchiya, with a population of 56,000, has only 3,125 patients. This disparity in numbers is explained by the remoteness of Padaviya and the large percentage of people involved in rice cultivation.

Residents of Padaviya claim that there is virtually a CKDu patient in every farming family, and funerals of people felled by CKDu are a virtual daily occurrence. The geographical area the Padaviya Hospital serves includes the Kebithigollewa and Wahalkada areas in the North Central Province, Sampath Nuwara and Weli Oya in the Northern Province and Siripura and Pulmoddai in the Eastern Province.

In June 2013 the dialysis unit in Padaviya hospital was opened, with 16 patients under dialysis six days a week. The consumables for this treatment cost around Rs. 5,000 per dialysis session, per patient. This dialysis unit was an initiative of Dr. Shamitha Dissanayake, a physician who was posted to Padaviya Hospital around two years ago. Dr. Dissanayake was recognised as the ‘Most Innovative Outstation Physician for 2013’ by the Ceylon College of Physicians for his ‘pioneering work in the area of CKDu patients’.

The ‘X factor’

A recent study by a team from the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Raja Rata, has revealed a hypothesis that a herbicide used extensively in rice farming in Sri Lanka, ‘glyphosate,’ combines with other kidney toxic metals in the patient’s diet to morph into a glyphosate-metal combine which is ingested into the patient’s body and ultimately travels to the kidney, resulting in CKDu. This hypothesis has not been tested by any animal experimental studies or epidemiological research.

Sri Lanka’s CKDu National Research Project Team in a recent report says that the study indicates multiple agents may play a role in afflicting patients with CKDu, including exposure to arsenic, cadmium, excess fluoride in ground water, genetic predisposition and association with farming and the extensive use of pesticides, etc.

The link between glyphosate and CKDu is yet entirely theoretical. The speculation is that metals in hard water combined with some other unknown actor, a ‘compound X,’ may be the cause of CKDu. The hypothesis assumes that this ‘X factor’ must be an agricultural chemical which binds with heavy metals and results in an increased intake and retention of the heavy metals and the movement of such metals through the human system to the kidney. The metals accumulate in the kidney and induces malfunction of the organ and causes renal disease. As was stated earlier this is only a hypothesis, there is no clear evidence yet available of this link between glyphosate and CKDu.

Ban on use of glyphosate

Notwithstanding this lack of clear and categorical proof of the connection between glyphosate and CKDu, a ban on the use of glyphosate has been proposed. This is on the basis that although glyphosate is the most widely-used herbicide worldwide, most health studies have focused on the safety of glyphosate itself, rather than on the mixture of ingredients found in the weedicide containing glyphosate, with other factors.

The so-called inert ingredients in the weedicide containing glyphosate could amplify the toxic effects on human cells even at concentrations much more diluted than those commonly used in rice growing areas. With his hypothesis staring us in our face, it is up to us to decide whether we should still continue allow the onward accumulation of glyphosate in our food supply, water resources and environment.

Naturally from the side of the economic forces which market pesticides and weedicide, there has been, to say the least, an equal and opposite reaction to this talk of banning glyphosate. Glyphosate has a huge market in Sri Lanka’s rice bowl and in the tea plantations and is an extremely efficient weedicide which decimates weeds. The continual use of glyphosate-based weedicide will result in ground water being polluted in all parts of the islands, as the rivers starting from the central hills flow down in all directions of the compass to Sri Lanka plains, and the glyphosate used on the tea and rubber plantations will flow into all areas inhabited.

The issue now raising its head in the Raja Rata and other rice bowl areas is due to glyphosate-based weedicide being extensively used in the rice farming. But the flow down from the tea plantations will affect all drinking water sources, all over Lanka in the long term.

Notwithstanding this, soon after the Minister of Special Projects announced that the President had banned glyphosate-based weedicide, the Pesticide Technical Advisory Committee (PeTAC) gave publicity to the fact that they were making a request for an urgent meeting with the President and the Minister of agriculture to “discuss the controversy surrounding glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup used by paddy farmers and the tea sector”.

PeTAC argues that this so-called ban was based on a mere hypothesis (an unproven explanation) and that there was no established scientific data to prove that this agro chemical was the cause of kidney disease. A newspaper report, meanwhile, reported that at the Annual Academic Sessions of the Toxicology Society of Sri Lanka held recently, the general view was that although glyphosate is linked to organ toxicity, there is no direct or hard evidence to prove that it caused CKDu.
The Director of Agricultural Services was reported in a newspaper report as stating that there was “no technological reason for the disuse of glyphosate as there was no sufficient scientific evidence to prove that it had caused renal ailments”.

Position today

So today, the position seems to be as follows. There is an unproven hypothesis that links glyphosate to CKDu. The weedicide Roundup is supposed to have been banned, but is yet said to be still available in the market. Glyphosate continues to be used in paddy fields, tea and rubber plantations. Young male rice farmers in our major rice growing areas are being decimated by CKDu.

There are hardly any preventive steps being taken, except things like providing water filters to households, assisting households to harvest rain water, not a very common factor in our dry zone, where the main rice growing areas are located. Curative steps are very expensive, mostly unaffordable. Dialysis units are being established in hospitals in rice-growing areas.

When a decisive step like the banning of glyphosate is announced, the weedicide sellers contest the decision. It looks as if this confused and irresponsible ‘policy paralysis’ situation will continue, with more and more young working age males being afflicted by CKDu, until the so-called scientific evidence is made available – like a dog or monkey or guinea pig, being fed with glyphosate and hard water and maybe some illicit liquor, in an experiment to prove the hypothesis on the connection between glyphosate and CKDu.

Social stigma

In the meantime, people are being afflicted by CKDu in increasing numbers, glyphosate is still being used, and billions are being spent on dialysis treatment. Analysts have estimated that an average of 13 young men may be dying a day due to CKDu. There is an out migration of young men from Sri Lanka’s rice bowl. Unfortunately, once a family member is afflicted with CKDu, and the neighbourhood community gets to know, there is a social stigma on the family. This is sad but true.
There is a belief that CKDu is hereditary, which is unproven. Once a family member is diagnosed with CKDu, the whole extended family goes through economic hardship. The very thought of lifelong dialysis treatment causes mental and emotional depression.

When the young male head of household, a rice farmer, is affected, other family members have to seek economic opportunities. Households and families break up; children have to stop their education. The social stigma results in even finding marriage partners being a difficulty. Other family members migrate to cities to avoid being stigmatised, seeking the anonymity of the urban environment.

Employees of transferable services in Government and even private sector employees are reluctant to serve in CKDu-affected areas. Traditional old ‘Purana Gammana’ in the Raja Rata, the Sinhala heartland, and new settlements in the Land Settlement Scheme Colonies and the Mahaweli Scheme Colonies, are seeing an out migration of young males. The export of labour, especially women to West Asia as housemaids, exacerbates the issue. In time with the deployment of the armed services in these areas, cases of CKDu will inevitably appear among serving soldiers, sailors and airmen.

International focus

In the meantime, there has been an international focus on this issue. A group of Sri Lankan medical personnel and scientists working in the United States have written to the President of Sri Lanka requesting him to implement his decision to ban weedicide containing glyphosate. These scientists and medical men have urged that the burden is placed on special interest groups promoting glyphosate-based weedicide to prove the benign nature of the chemical that glyphosate combined with other factors found in Sri Lanka and are not injurious to human beings.

They point out that the Presidential ban on glyphosate-based weedicide has not been implemented. Of course, Sri Lankans being what we are – similar to Noble Laureate Amartya Sen’s ‘Argumentative Indian’ – there is another point of view. A Lankan expatriate in Canada writes in querying these scientists’ claims and saying that in California glyphosate is freely available! The matter needs further study to firm up the hypothesis.

Until then, the ban on glyphosate-based weedicide, while it can be done immediately, the effect on afflicting people with CKDu, will only be reduced in the long-term. Glyphosate would have leached into the water resource base of the rice-growing areas and will be flowing down from the tea and rubber plantations in the Central Hills. It will take decades to nullify the effect of the chemical.

In the immediate effect provision of pure water is what can be done. Provision of water filters is one option. But there is a long-term maintenance aspect of the filter unit, which, even if the filter plant is donated, the local households, schools, communities and religious organisations may find these costs a burden in the medium and long term.

Rain water harvesting, since the water is pure and unpolluted, is the best option. Financial incentives should be provided to households and institutions to set up the infrastructure. Special ‘hardship allowances’ should be paid to Government officials who volunteer to serve in CKDu-afflicted areas. The private sector can be given fiscal incentives.

Unless the human resource and capacity is on location, no remedial program can work effectively. The example of one committed physician in Padaviya has been cited. Also education is the key. The causes of CKDu must be clearly communicated and clarified, to avoid social stigma and marginalisation.

Doomsday predictions

There are doomsday predictions, that the rice bowl area will be decimated of its young men, due to CKDu. That it will be a repeat of the effect of the Chola invasions on the Raja Rata kingdom in the days of yore, when the irrigation works which underpinned the Raja Rata hydraulic civilisation were destroyed, resulting in malaria getting a grip on the North Central and North East and the region being depopulated by the drift of the population to the South West. These grim predictions may not come to pass, provided that we overcome the present policy paralysis and some decisive action is taken, now, to meet the challenges faced by the people due to CKDu.

The Colombo-centric policy making which has been the bane of this nation for so long and the allegedly current Southern-centric thinking clearly cannot provide adequate responses to CKDu nationwide – unless maybe the Walawa, Kirindi, Menik, Kumbukkan, Nilwala and Gin Gangas carry glyphosate residue to the south in their run-off waters from the tea and rubber plantations in Uva and Sabaragamuwa, which is in all probability already happening, to create a CKDu life-threatening situation in that region too. Then there might be some decisive action. But we cannot afford to wait. Paralysis is no policy.

News is just out of a committee of bureaucrats chaired by the Secretary to the President, which has made 204 short and long term recommendations on this issue. The committee endorses an earlier recommendation by another expert team to prohibit certain agrochemicals, including glyphosate, which have been found in the ‘urinal residues of kidney patients’. The country yearns for action.

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Latest comments

  • 4
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    ” A hypothesis has emerged that consistent exposure to agro chemicals, combined with hard work in the hot sun, dehydration, hard water, and allegedly, in addition, heavy consumption of illicit liquor, among factors combined with others is the cause for this epidemic. “

    The exposure to the weedicides and dehydration from working in the hot sun would be unique to this group of the population, while drinking hard water and excessive alcohol intake would not be. It is therefore not unreasonaable to suspect the weedicides. The corporate world is not known for being upfront with all the negatives and many an attempt to hide the dangers from the use of such chemicals is well known. But that is another story. What we should not allow is the destruction of a most productive part of our population either by ignorance or inaction.

    • 1
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      Mr.Ratwatte,
      thanks for the article, providing us with the chance to discuss on this grave issue again.

      As I heard from the authorities saying lately (as my memory permits), particular kidney disease is no longer called – as Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown Cause (CKDu) since they said, now reasons are now known to the researchers what caused those young farming communitiees to get caught by the disease.

      Previously, one good professor had made it clear on this CT forum itself, that the wrong use of hazadous fertilizer should have been the key cause drinking water of those affected to be highly contaminated.

      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/solving-kidney-disease-in-dry-zone/

      The state itself is making every efforts calling themselvels as marching towards a mid income earning nation, but failing to provide the cheapest food item of the man – which is drinking water to the considerable masses of the nation have created the the current health problems. Not only CKDu but also very many other unknown kind of diseases could affect on lanken poor communities, if the rulers would not have international standards of control interms of imports of highly hazarradous agra chemicals.

  • 3
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    The “X” factor, presented as cause of Kidney Disease is given here as Glyphosate, which is the well known weed killer (herbicide), often sold as ROUNDUP. It is used in most households in the US and Europe, Japan etc.

    What is the evidence for this claim? As far as I can see, none what ever.

    But there is simple, obvious evidence against it.

    1. Gylphosate quickly degrades in water. If it does not, it will kill any water weeds in the water body containing even traces of it. Go to Padaviya, and you see lots of Japan Japbara(water hyacinth) in the water. That cannot happen if there is ANY glyphosate in the water.

    2. Prof. Chandre dharmawardana (an ex-professor and Vice chancellor of SJP university at the time I was an undergrad there) recently proposed a simple experiment. ANYONE CAN DO IT.

    Amoeba are uni-cellular animals that are easily found in any outdoor water; and a colony of amoeba can be grown easily in a dish of gelatine by adding a few amoeba picked up from outside using a medicine dropper.

    Take three dishes. Into each put half a cup of water, one table spoon of gelatine solution, and one drop of bug culture (e.g., amoeba, a unicellular animal).

    Then into the first dish, put one gram of glyphosate dissolve in a half a cup of water. Into the second dish, put one gram of LifeBuoy soap dissolved in half a cup of water. Into the last dish, put just half a cup of water with nothing added (this is the “control” sample).

    At the end of the day, take a drop of liquid from each dish, put it on a glass slide, and look at it using a microscope. You will see that the Glyphosate has had no effect on the amoeba, but the soap has killed quite a lot of them. The drop from the third dish, which is the control will have almost as many bugs as with the glyphosate.

    Repeat many times. Each time you will be able to confirm that Glyphosate is FAR LESS TOXIC THAN SOAP.

    The above experiment can be done even at home if you have a simple microscope.
    It proves that Glyphosate is virtually non-toxic in comparison to soap.

    If you repeat the experiment with living plant cells (e.g., Chlamydomonas instead of amoeba) you will see that Glyphosate efficiently kills all the plant cells. If you use a mixture of plant cells and animal cells, Glyphosate kills the plant cells but leaves the animal cells intact.

    If Glyphosate is non-toxic to even the most primitive of organisms with little or no defense mechanisms, why does Mr. Rathwatta, Jayasumana and others claim that it is toxic, and causes kidney disease!

    Mr. Jayasuman used to claim that Arsenic was the cause of Kidney disease, because God natha told his guru (nalin de Silva) via a lady medium who is alleged to communicate with the spirits. Did Mr. Jayasumana get the news about Glyphosate also from God Natha? His “hypothesis” article mentions the Malabe Janasuvaya group who are associated with this set of occult believers.

  • 3
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    What is still a hypothesis for our learned locals is an established fact in the US and part of the Primary Drinking Water Satndard.

    http://www.epa.gov/safewater/pdfs/factsheets/soc/tech/glyphosa.pdf

    Drinking Water Standards MCLG: 0.7 mg/L MCL: 0.7 mg/L HAL(child): 1-to 10-day: 20 mg/L; Longer-term: 1 mg/L
    Health Effects Summary
    Acute: EPA has found glyphosate to potentially cause the following health effects from acute exposures at levels above the MCL: congestion of the lungs; increased breathing rate.
    Drinking water levels which are considered “safe” for short-term exposures: For a 10-kg (22 lb.) child consuming 1 liter of water per day, upto a ten-day exposure to 20 mg/L or up to a 7-year exposure to 1 mg/L.
    Chronic: Glyphosate has the potential to cause the following health effects from long-term exposures at levels above the MCL: kidney damage, reproductive effects.
    Cancer: There is inadequate evidence to state whether or not glyphosate has the potential to cause cancer from a lifetime exposure in drinking water.

    Other Regulatory Information
    Monitoring For Ground/Surface Water Sources:
    Initial Frequency-4 quarterly samples every 3 years
    Repeat Frequency-If no detections during initial round: 2 quarterly per year if serving >3300 persons; 1 sample per 3 years for smaller systems
    Triggers -Return to Initial Freq. if detect at > 0.006 mg/L

    Of course our locals suffer from Patriotic Dysfunction and cannot accept anything from the US and other LTTE Rump countries. So we keep grovelling in the mud of ignorance.

    • 1
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      Note safa’s comment:
      Drinking Water Standards MCLG: 0.7 mg/L MCL: 0.7 mg/L HAL(child): 1-to 10-day: 20 mg/L; Longer-term: 1 mg/L

      These are huge amounts.
      Most toxins are given in parts per billion, and NOT mg/L. For example, anything above 4 parts per billion of arsenic is considered toxic.

      THIS IS WHY GLYPHOSATE is NOT considered toxic.

      But, although you need 0.7 mg/L to make it toxic to people, minute amounts are enough to kill weeds. Even such minute quantities are NOT there, and so Japan Jabara and other weeds grow in the Rajarata water. If the stuff is not there, it cannot cause kidney disease.

  • 2
    1

    Good article Charita! May thanks and keep up your excellent articles – always a pleasure to read!

    Glyphosate fertilizer should be BANNED until there is concrete evidence to show that it does not cause CKDu.. In this case given:
    1) That many young people are dying fast in affected communities
    2) the might of Monsanto and other Corporations that manufacture the product to buy officials in poor third world countries the principle should be GUILTY UNTIL PROVED INNOCENT.

    Also, rather than or before dialysis which is really at stage 5 renal falure, PROBIOTICS are a relatively cheap treatment of patients with CKDu and are being used in the US. More funds need to be invested in making available probiotics for treatment of CKDu and research. Probiotics pack the gut with good bacteria for the healthy stomach to break down and filter a lot of the urea and other impurities that the kidneys usually perform, and thus lightens the burden on the damaged kidneys. This is a very important specially for patients in the early stages of the disease.

  • 0
    1

    yeah yeah… who cares? we are working on building an empire and to make a price the king. we have prince to defend, you can distribute sexist remarks on girls, and can play double games. we have a king who defends that attack of opposition parliamentarians, saying that they had angered the public by suggesting a port was a pool and an airport was fit to be a museum. kidney disease comes somewhere at the bottom of the list of our concerns.

  • 1
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    This Raja-rata group came out with such fanciful theories in the past such as bio-terrorism, arsenci, cadmium and now their latest X-factor, glyphosate. Anyone can put forward a hypotheis however ridiculous it is, yet the policy of a governement should not be chnaged by a mere unconfirmed hypothesis. This is a widespread herbicide used in Sri Lanka and all over the world with no record of CKDu.A lot more work is necessary to prove that this is a real culprit.
    Also, one of the authors of this paper is a person who cures patients with help of supernatural forces particularly Natha Deviyo.Teh same natha deviyo said eralier that arsenic is responsible and now it appears that God Natha has changed his mind.
    Also, some of these scientists try to score a point for their political advantage which is the tragedy of our country. Such third class political stooges have thier say while the voice of respected doctors and scientists are not heard.

  • 3
    2

    It is now evident that herbicide glyphosate (Roundup) has been the cause of various diseases including the Kidney. Recent studies in America has found that the breast milk of American women, Moms Across America and Sustainable Pulse found high levels in 30 percent of the samples tested. This strongly suggests that glyphosate levels build up in your body over time, despite claims to the contrary.World GMO Expert Says Glyphosate May Be ‘Even More Toxic Than DDT’This herbicide is widely used in Sri Lanka. The recent efforts to ban it which had the support of the president of Sri lanka was stopped due to the intervention of certain interested parties and unless action is taken to ban it we would see many more cases of kidney failure among males in Sri Lanka and eventually the poisoning of our waterways.

    Already a growing population America are requesting the elected Representative in Congress to ban it’s use. A lot of farmers has already stopped using it as it is effecting their Animals farmed.

    Hats off to Ratwatte bringing out this problem, and the government should take action to ban it’s use.

  • 2
    1

    Thank You Charitha Ratwatte for this topical article. However much evidence is put in front of our present politicians, only two factors concern the obsequious minister and his political masters: 1 Is there a fat-profit element, and 2 will it be anti-west. Usually, number one trumps.

  • 0
    2

    Since we need more proof to say that Glyphosate is the cause without going for total ban we could restrict the usage.Imports could be reduced by 50 %until more evidence is available.At the moment 5 million liters are imported per annum and there is a use for this weedicide due to shortage of labour and paddy farmers could prepear their fields in time before they miss out on water release dates.Also what is tea planter going to do as tea is planted in hilly areas and using the scraper will result in disturbing the soil and then erotion or loss of top soil.There is no other chemical weedicide thats effective and affordable to the farmers.

    • 2
      1

      Hiran,
      Why 50%
      Anything suspected of causing incurable illness should be totally banned until proved to be non-toxic.
      Even WHO experts appear to be puzzled.
      Is there an unknown environmental factor – this is an ideal subject for research by scientists and sociologists.

      • 1
        1

        Some one can write an article pointing out that there is a lot of detergent (in fact much more than glyphosate) in the rajarata water, coming from human use, and that this causes various diseases, including Kidney disease.
        So are we going to say that “Soap is suspect” and ban 50% of soap use, or, following justice, ban it 100%?

        It is like changing the pillow for fever, or killing the geckos (Hoona) claiming that their sounds caused the fever, purely on suspicion. Knee-jerk reactions will not solve problems.

        Mr Ratvatta has merely expressed the unfortunate, but irrational reaction of many people — unfortunately, it is not correct.

  • 2
    1

    In environmental science, there is a principal called precautionary approach, which states that if an action or policy has a suspected risk of causing harm to the public or to the environment, in the absence of scientific consensus that the action or policy is harmful, the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those taking an action.

    The principle is used by policy makers to justify discretionary decisions in situations where there is the possibility of harm from taking a particular course or making a certain decision when extensive scientific knowledge on the matter is lacking. The principle implies that there is a social responsibility to protect the public from exposure to harm, when scientific investigation has found a plausible risk. These protections can be relaxed only if further scientific findings emerge that provide sound evidence that no harm will result.

    Accordingly, the Pesticide Technical Advisory Committee (PeTAC) or anybody who advocate to use glyphosate-based weedicides should prove with scientific evidence that the long-term exposure to glyphosate-based weedicides or to their derivatives or to their residuals is not harmful for mankind.

    Secondly, the ban of glyphosate-based weedicide is very advisable until scientific findings emerge that provide sound evidence that no harm will result.

    Unfortunately, in Sri Lanka, parties who advocate against the ban of glyphosate-based weedicide are with conflict of interests and they represent business interests of multinational companies. Thus, they unethically demand the burden of proof form the researchers who at least hypothesized the risk of glyphosate-based weedicides. Yes, researchers who predicted the risk of these chemicals will do more studies to find concrete evidences to support their hypothesis.

    But until then, how many lives of innocent farmers will have to sacrifice to satisfy the greediness of these chemical companies and their mouthpieces?

  • 1
    0

    It is quite correct that the author said above that “the link between glyphosate and CKDu is yet ENTIRELY theoretical.” In fact, there is no scientific basis to conclude that glyphosate causes CKDu. If glyphosate causes kidney failure in humans why Australian and American farmers are not having this CKD? They use much more glyphosate that we do here. This had been addressed by several leading independent scientists in the recent past demonstrating that this hypothesis is false; please see the following examples, URL;
    http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=98864 ; http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=101248; http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=100405 ; http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=99203 ; http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=101392 ; http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=100347
    It is so unfortunate that such guessed-stories (as Bodhi illustrated above) continuing and propagated blindly by some (and trying to secondary valiade by using signatures of peopl/docs who has done “nothing” nor even understand any in this field), without looking into the facts, science, and the”motives” of the originator(s).

  • 1
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    No one is powerful enough to stop MONSANTO. They are more powerful than the US government. That is why the Roundup is not banned in USA.

  • 1
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    Scientific research is not needed. All scientists are following Judo-christian thinking. Think as Sinhala Buddhists. think of Natha and Vipassaka as chemists and medical doctors respectively. Follow one hypothesis after the other. Write against all local scientists questioning Kelaniya. Get hold of vociferous politicians who do not believe in science. Jayasumana and company can live for ever with support of journalists who are ever willing to publish articles from their friend. CKDU will be there for ever to the fools to live on

  • 0
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  • 0
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  • 1
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    A timely piece which re-emphasizes the need to find a solution to CKDu.

    Just as much as the culprit is Glyphosate now, earlier it was Fluoride, Arsenic and Cadmium and all the latter are still not ruled out! Banning Glyphosate merely on a hypothesis is not correct. This herbicide may not be the cause at all! Glyphosate is still approved for use in the U.S. and Canada, and also in many other countries though there is strong lobbying for it’s ban by interest groups. Some evidence is emerging in the U.S. that Glyphosate residues have been detected in body organs of humans but research is still to uncover a connection to disease.

    The use of Glyphosate in the U.S. is mainly by aerial route and results in large areas of say tens of thousands of acres at a time being covered and contaminated. In Sri Lanka Glyphosate is sprayed by Knapsack sprayers manually and it’s use is more rational. In the U.S. despite heavy use there is no evidence to establish the connection between Glyphosate and CKDU, but then the conditions are different.

    The choice of Glyphosate by those in agriculture was determined by it’s effectiveness, economy of cost, and it’s ability to tranform to an inert chemical in contact with soil. If Glyphosate is a cause of CKDu, then it is vital to determine what new chemical compositions are formed by it’s interaction with soils in the dry zone, how these chemicals travel with ground water in to tanks and wells. The use of Glyphosate in the upcountry is more widespread than in the dry zone, but there is no CKDu. So the researchers will need to also study what transitional chemicals are formed in the soil, and their mobility in ground water, springs and streams leading to the major rivers. A correspondent in a national newspaper asked the question whether we are over exploiting and thereby exhausting our ground water reserves and reaching toxic concentrations below. This too needs to be studied.

    As an immediate step the government should install dialysis machines in all hospitals in the dry zone as a priority, and provide treatment free of cost. This is far better than investing in the grandiose schemes we waste money on. What is the private sector doing? The Banks boast that they are the best in Sri Lanka, in this or that. Then why cannot they put their money where their mouth is and jointly contribute to a worthy CSR project? The inability of scientists to work together is another concern.The fact that the government is labouring over this issue shows the sad depths to which our politicians have fallen. Surely cannot one of them take a lead if the Minister of Health cannot?

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    It is quite correct that the author of this blog said above that “the link between glyphosate and CKDu is ENTIRELY theoretical.” In fact, there is no scientific basis to conclude that glyphosate causes CKDu. If glyphosate causes kidney failure in humans why American famer are not having this CKD? They use much more glyphosate that we do here. This had been addressed by several leading independent scientists in the recent past demonstrating that this hypothesis is false; please see the following examples, URL;
    http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=100347; http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=98864 ; http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=101248; http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=100405 ; http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=99203 ; http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=101392 ;
    It is unfortunate that such stories (as Mr. odhi illustrated above) continuing and propagated blindly by some, without looking into the facts, science, and the motives of the originator(s).

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    It is utterly sad to find that Mr. Ratwatte, a lawyer, has chosen to write about a subject where even angels fear to tread, while only Natha Deiyyo and his followers have the guts to rush in. I guess his next article could be on neurosurgery, cancer oncology or DNA bio-markers for Alzheimer disease.

    It is clear that some of our senior citizens with a Law degree can write about anything. Kidney disease, nephrology are toxicology are nothing for people who have learned the art of spinning it out to share holders.

    How about the private sector doing some thing to provide clean water to the people in the Rajarata instead of asking people to ban that or ban this. We want less government, and more voluntary, informed action.

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    Following web link gives further unwanted publicity to this hypothetical guess by “Jayasumana and siribaddana” (nephew and uncle) duo. http://lankacnews.com/sinhala/main-news/114373/#comment-740453 . However, the university website http://www.csulb.edu/ provide nothing at all on this. This seems to be a just a local departmental issue/award that is given routinely twice a year in most US universities to boost the faculty moral, especially of the old folks.
    Many Sri Lankans have received these in USA, but have not exploited like these two folks motioned above and in the article. Most certainly, it is not a university-wide or a national award. Moreover, no where it states that this is related to ‘infamous’ and false glyphosate story; just another creation by the duo mentioned above for self publicity and gather more funds t for themselves! In addition to the 26 million rupees already taken (by each to fight against our agriculture and I the industry) as per the “Rawaya” (September 2013).
    Shameful act by these two using dr. Gunathilaka, who is now trying to slither in the same mud slide and threatening other scientists in Lanka. This “false” propaganda by these three are a national tragedy that should not be encouraged. People (especially them) should get out and help our farmers rather than collecting funds for themselves and their personal work, and screaming to ban a valuable herbicide that is essential for our farmers and the country’s economy. What a tragedy for our nation created by these unscrupulous folks!

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