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Sri Lanka Bans Monsanto Herbicide Citing Potential Link to Deadly Kidney Disease

For Related Articles and More Information, Please Visit OCA's Genetic Engineering Page and our Millions Against Monsanto Page.

Concerned the chemical may be linked to a kidney disease killing agricultural workers, Sri Lanka this week ordered a ban on glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto's top-selling herbicide Roundup.

The move comes weeks after publication of a new study in Sri Lanka suggesting glyphosate as the leading culprit for the illness. The paper did not provide new scientific evidence, but laid out a detailed theory that the use of glyphosate in areas with heavy metals in the drinking water is causing the chronic kidney disease. Roundup is the top selling herbicide in the world, and Monsanto said the newest study is built upon untested theory rather than hard data.

"Glyphosate acts as a carrier or a vector of these heavy metals to the kidney," said Dr. Channa Jayasumana, the study's principal author.

For more than two years, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has examined a mysterious form of kidney disease that has killed tens of thousands of agricultural workers in Central America, Sri Lanka and India. The malady is suspected by scientists to be caused by a combination of factors including chronic dehydration from hard labor in tropical heat and exposure to toxins such as pesticides, but its origins have yet to be fully uncovered.

Wednesday's announcement by Sri Lanka was the most dramatic measure taken to date to combat the illness. The legislature in El Salvador approved a ban on dozens of agrochemicals including glyphosate last September, but the proposal has so far not been signed into law.   


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