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Monsanto Forces Sri Lanka to Back off on Roundup Ban

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

Facing political opposition and questions about its scientific evidence, Sri Lanka’s government has placed on hold its decision to ban the top-selling Monsanto herbicide glyphosate based on the weed killer’s alleged role in a deadly epidemic of kidney disease.

The delay represents a setback to efforts by some scientists and health officials, primarily in Sri Lanka and El Salvador, to remove the herbicide for its potential link to the mysterious kidney disease that has killed tens of thousands of agricultural workers.

Monsanto, other agrochemical producers and Sri Lankan officials, including Registrar of Pesticides Anura Wijesekara, have pushed back, noting that the ban rests on a theory that has not been proven.

“It is an interesting hypothesis, but we don’t have any evidence for it,” said Dr. Wijesekara, a consistent skeptic of curbs on agrichemicals. Banning glyphosate, he said, “will affect the tea plantations and also the [rice] paddy cultivation drastically.”

For more than two years, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has examined a rare form of kidney disease devastating agricultural workers in Central America, Sri Lanka and India. Scientists suspect the malady is caused by a combination of factors including chronic dehydration from hard labor in tropical heat, and exposure to toxins such as pesticides.


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