Award goes ahead despite industry backlash
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has stood firm against industry pressure and confirmed that it is giving the 2019 Award for Scientific Freedom and Responsibility to two Sri Lankan scientists, Sarath Gunatilake and Channa Jayasumana, who hypothesized a connection between glyphosate herbicide exposure and chronic kidney disease.
The AAAS had first announced its intention to give the award to Drs Gunatilake and Jayasumana at the beginning of this year. But its announcement unleashed a furious backlash from defenders of glyphosate. These included the GMO and pesticide promoter Kevin Folta, who falsely claimed that "there were no data" presented in the scientists' published papers.
In response, the AAAS announced in February that it would review its decision on the award. As a result of that review, it has upheld the award as fully merited while acknowledging there were problems with how the AAAS announced the award: "The AAAS communication announcing the 2019 award earlier this year included misleading statements about a causal connection between glyphosate and chronic kidney disease. An association has been suggested by the researchers, but a causal connection is not conclusive to date."