Colombo Telegraph

How Do You Sleep At Night? A Response To Chandre Dharmawardana

By Grusha Andrews – 

“All scientific work is incomplete, and is liable to be upset or modified by advancing knowledge”1 _ Sir Austin Bradford Hill (1965)

Photo credit – e-RSE.net

Corruption and privilege are cosy bedfellows. Sexier bed fellows are corrupt privilege and hypocrisy. Shameless are those privileged, who, cocooned in civilized and safer societies advocate danger, health hazards, lack of regulations and death for ‘lesser humans’. Living in societies with abundant consumer protection where governments perceive safety of their citizenry as a natural obligation, certain devil’s advocates preach death and disease for the ‘lesser masses’ in poorer countries. Chandre Dharmawardana a specimen of a ‘scientist’ who is using scientific jargon to advocate cancer, chronic kidney disease and death to Sri Lankans is living safely in Canada. He has recently a written an article to Colombo Telegraph, distorting epidemiological theory to suit his advocacy for Glyphosate. It appears that Sri Lankan humans are lesser than lab monkeys or guinea pigs to such men of stunning scientific immorality. For them, people in Sri Lanka are but moving masses of flesh, blood, serum, cells to toxify, test, and kill. Nothing seems to haunt classless “scientists”. The Nazis who performed trials on captured Jews, the Caucasians who trialled gynaecological instruments on Negro women without anaesthesia or their consents – these are the likely ideological progenitors of men who have the immoral audacity to consistently advocate to ‘lesser humans’ what they protect themselves from in their countries of residence. 

Seriously, Colombo Telegraph, you might as well feature Nazis, rapists and paedophiles. 

Fundamental Folly Of The GMOA: Natha Deyyo

The fundamental failure of the medical profession in being sound and sincere advocates for agrochemical safety lies in the hands of the nincompoop-hood of Dr. Anurudha Padeniya and his hilarious cult of Natha Deyyo worshippers. A team of cult worshippers including Padeniya, Prof. Channa Jayasumana et al, reduced what should have been a serious and a cerebral scientific discourse in to a stupid saga of idol worshipping mumbo-jumbo playing right in to the hands of the agro chemical industry and scientific Nazis of despicable calibre. Athuraliye Rathana, the extremist Buddhist monk defecated on an already muddy unscientific pit that Padeniya et al steered the agro chemical debate in Sri Lanka through his inflammatory and disruptive discourse on the matter, insulting scientists and outshouting moderate proponents. Their fundamental reason for professing that agrochemicals had a causative effect on Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown origin (CKDU) was that the ghost of Natha Deyya (the spirit of a local deity) came to them in a dream and said so. Fairy Tale Theatre, anyone? This also begs the question: what kind of decerebrated morons sit at the Ethics Review Committees of faculties of medicine which sanction research based on unverifiable joo-joo of this nature? 

By reducing a valuable scientific discourse to a cultural debate between those who demanded evidence from western knowledge and the Kattadi Gang of Padeniya et al, the GMOA backed imbeciles who were essentially the political stooges of Mahinda Rajapaska meated the mouths of the likes of Chandre Dharmawardana to ridicule the effect of agrochemicals on human health and to establish themselves as voices of moderation and reason. 

The idiocy of Padeniya, Rathana, and Jayasumana (who was a coordinating secretary of Mahinda Rajapaksa for Anuradhapura district and candidate of SLFP under Rajapaksa rule) et al does not absolve Chandre Dharmawardana and his team of devil’s advocates from their criminality towards the human beings of Sri Lanka. 

Devil’s Advocate’s Cunning Omission

Chandre Dharmawardana, in his most recent article to Colombo Telegraph titled “Can A California Jury Decide If A Pesticide Caused Gardener Johnson’s Cancer?” tries to mispresent the theory of causality by esteemed epidemiologist Sir Austin Bradford Hill to present his apologist case for Glyphosate and agro chemicals in general. He mentions a 7 item criteria, misquoting Hill. In Dharamawardana’s version, the Hill criteria for causality constitute of strength of association, consistency, plausibility, coherence, experimental evidence, analogy and the absence of disease when the suspected causal agent is absent. In reality what Dharmawardana has done is to cunningly mislead the readers by presenting the 9 ITEM CRITERIA of Hill as a 7 time criteria2. The two important criteria  that Dharmawardana has conveniently left out are biological gradient and temporality. 

Biological gradient: simply means that when the dose of the causative agent increases, the chance of developing the disease increases. Which is the case with all notorious agrochemicals. 

Temporality: simply means the longer a person is exposed to the causative agent the higher the chance of developing the disease. 

No prizes for guessing why. 

Glyphosphate: Grade 2a Carcinogen As Per WHO 

Glyphosate is a herbicide first registered for use in the US in 1974. Monsanto markets Glyphosate as part of the pesticide Roundup. Several studies found that high doses administered to laboratory animals caused cancer, although the evidence is ‘limited’ when it comes to humans (for obvious ethical reasons human testing cannot be done except in observational studies). 

In March 2015, the World Health Organization ranked Glyphosate a Group 2a carcinogen, a substance that probably causes cancer in people. Monsanto, the Company possessing the patent for Roundup vehemently denied that its product causes cancer and says and more than 800 studies that have established its safety. Yet more than 4,000 plaintiffs have filed lawsuits – 800 over the past year – claiming Monsanto made them or members of their family sick.

Quasi scientists of the inhuman calibre of Dharmawardana who scream for long prospective studies to assert the causality between cancer and Glyphosate before its ban don’t seem to question the ‘800 studies ‘that ‘prove’ glyphosates are safe. Were they prospective cohort studies? How many years were the exposed subjects followed up to arrive at the conclusion that Glyphosphates are safe? Who funded such study? But when scientists, epidemiologists and oncologists want Glyphosphate controls on the precautionary principals of medicine, the likes of Dharmawardana ask for evidence from prospective cohort studies. Are we to risk generations of humans to fatten the pockets of the industry giants and the likes of Dharmawardana till a 20 year prospective study is completed?

The Countries That Have Banned Glyphosate

The list of countries that have banned Glyphosate on the based on the precautionary principle includes the country of Dharmawardana’s residence – Canada. This list will also prove to the lay readers how countries with serious citizen rights act on the best advice of technocrats and experts in instances where the establishments of the causal relationship between exposures and diseases are still underway. They do not sacrifice generations of humans at the altar of experimentation. They act on the best evidence available and exercise scientific prudence. For them their citizens including Chandre Dharmawardana are not guinea pigs. Following is the list of countries that have banned Glyphosate3:

Argentina: Over 30,000 health care professionals advocated for a Glyphosate ban following the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s (IARC) report on Glyphosate, which concluded on its carcinogenicity.  

Australia

Belgium: Banned the individual use of Glyphosate. In 2017, Belgium voted against relicensing Glyphosate in the EU. 

Bermuda: Outlawed private and commercial sale of all Glyphosate-based herbicides. 

Brazil: In August of 2018, a federal judge in Brasilia ruled that new products containing Glyphosate could not be registered in the country. Existing regulations concerning Glyphosate were also suspended, pending a government re-evaluation of toxicological data.

Canada: Eight out of the 10 provinces in Canada have some form of restriction on the use of non-essential cosmetic pesticides, including Glyphosate. 

Colombia: In 2015, Colombia outlawed the use of Glyphosate to destroy illegal plantations of coca, the raw ingredient for cocaine, out of concern that Glyphosate cause’s cancer. However, in January of 2017, the country reinstituted its controversial Glyphosate fumigation program for coca. However now only manual spraying is allowed and aerial fumigation is banned.  

Denmark: The Danish Working Environment Authority declared Glyphosate to be carcinogenic and has recommended a change to less toxic chemicals. In July of 2018, the Danish government implemented new rules banning the use of Glyphosate on all post-emergent crops to avoid residues on foods.

El Salvador: Banned Glyphosate over links to deadly kidney disease.

England: A number of townships, including Brighton, Frensham, Hammersmith & Fulham, Bristol, Glastonbury, Frome, Erewash, North Somerset and Lewes 

France: In November of 2017, President Emmanuel Macron announced that France would issue an outright ban on Glyphosate within the next three years.

Germany: In January of 2018, Germany’s began the process of banning Glyphosate. Certain retail stores in Germany have also pulled glyphosate-based herbicides like Roundup from shelves.

Greece: Greece was one of nine EU countries to vote against relicensing Glyphosate in November of 2017. However, in March of 2018, the Greek government approved a five-year license for Monsanto’s Roundup against the wishes of Greek environmentalists.

Italy: In 2016, the Italian government banned the use of glyphosate as a pre-harvest treatment and placed restrictions on Glyphosate use in areas frequented by the public. In November of 2017, Italy was one of seven EU nations to vote against relicensing Glyphosate.

Luxembourg: One of Luxembourg’s largest supermarket chains removed Glyphosate from its shelves following the release of the IARC Glyphosate report. •Malta: Malta began the process of instituting countrywide ban of Glyphosate. However, Environment Minister José Herrera backtracked in January of 2017, saying the country would continue to oppose Glyphosate in discussions but would fall in line with the European Union and wait for further studies. 

Netherlands: Banned all non-commercial use of Glyphosate.

New Zealand: The cities of Auckland and Christchurch passed resolutions to reduce the usage of chemicals for weed and pest control in public places. The Physicians and Scientists for Global Responsibility, a New Zealand charitable trust, called for a Glyphosate ban in 2015.

Portugal: Prohibits the use of Glyphosate in all public spaces. 

Scotland: Aberdeen cut back its use of herbicides and Edinburgh’s City Council voted to phase out Glyphosate. In November of 2017, five of Scotland’s six EU parliamentarians voted in favour of a motion that would phase out Glyphosate by 2022.

Slovenia: Slovenia was one of six EU member states to sign a 2018 letter to the European Commission citing “concerns” about the risks associated with Glyphosate. •Spain: According to Kistiñe Garcia of the Spanish NGO, Ecologistas en Acción, Barcelona, Madrid, Zaragoza and the region of Extremuda have decided to ban Glyphosate. 

Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka was the first country to issue a nationwide ban on Glyphosate. However, in 2018, the government decided to lift the ban due to crop losses and overgrowing weeds.

Sweden: Raised concerns about Glyphosate safety and has pushed against relicensing the herbicide in the EU. In 2017, the Swedish Chemicals Agency (SCA) announced it was planning to tighten rules on private use of plant protection products. In due time, private consumers may not be permitted to use herbicides containing Glyphosate.

Switzerland: The Swiss supermarket chains Migros and Coop removed Glyphosate-based products from their shelves due to health risks. In 2017, the Green party put forth a plan to ban Glyphosate in Switzerland. The proposed plan was rejected by the Federal Council, Switzerland’s executive.

USA: States of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Virginia have banned Glyphosates.

Just look at how the world is reacting to Glyphosate.

Chandre Dharmawardana, how do you lay your head and sleep at night? 

References

1. Hill AB. The environment and disease: association or causation? Proc R Soc Med. 1965; 58:295–300. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

2. Fedak KM, Bernal A, Capshaw ZA, Gross S. Applying the Bradford Hill criteria in the 21st century: how data integration has changed causal inference in molecular epidemiology. Emerging Themes in Epidemiology. 2015;12:14. doi: 10.1186/s12982-015-0037-4.

3. https://www5.baumhedlundlaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/glyphosate-banned-map-img.jpg

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