Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Study Connects Monsanto's Roundup to Fatal Kidney Disease Epidemic

Health + Wellness

A new study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health may have found a link between Monsanto's Roundup weed killer and a fatal chronic kidney disease of unknown origin (CKDu) epidemic, which has affected several poor farming regions across the globe, reports GreenMedInfo

CKDu, a disease which is almost completely treatable in wealthier countries, has killed more people in El Salvador and Nicaragua than diabetes, AIDS and leukemia combined, over the last five years on record, according to the Center for Public Integrity.

The study, Glyphosate, Hard Water and Nephrotoxic Metals: Are They the Culprits Behind the Epidemic of Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown Etiology in Sri Lanka? hypothesizes that while Roundup (also known as glyphosate) is toxic, it is not solely capable of destroying kidney tissue on the scale recently seen in rice paddy regions of Northern Sri Lanka, or in El Salvador where it is the second leading killer of men. 

The researchers propose glyphosate becomes extremely toxic to the kidneys when it's combined with "hard" water or heavy metals like arsenic and cadmium, either naturally present in the soil or added externally through the spread of fertilizer.

The new hypothesis explains a number of observations linked to the disease, including why afflicted regions like Sri Lanka have seen a strong association between the consumption of hard water and the occurrence of the kidney disease, with 96 percent of CKDu patients having drunk hard or very hard water for at least five years.

The disease, which was first discovered among rice paddy farms in Northern Central Province of Sri Lanka in the mid-1990s, quickly spread to other farming areas. It now afflicts 15 percent or 400,000 working-age people in the northern part of the country with a death toll of about 20,000, according to the Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown etiology (CKDu) study.

Given the fact that geographical and socioeconomical factors play a central role in determining risk, the study's authors believe environmental and occupational factors are the main causes, meaning CKDu is a result of chemically-induced damage. The authors point out that even the World Health Organization conducted studies to determine the origin of CKDu, and that the general consensus is the disease has numerous causes, including:

  • Exposure to arsenic
  • Exposure to cadmium
  • Exposure to pesticides
  • Consumption of hard water
  • Low water intake
  • Exposure to high temperatures (and resultant dehydration)

However, the authors state: "Whatever hypothesis that is propounded should be able to answer the questions as to why CKDu is confined to certain geographical areas of Sri Lanka and why there was no CKDu in Sri Lanka prior to the 1990s."

Visit EcoWatch’s FOOD and HEALTH pages for more related news on this topic.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Pexels

By Shawna Foo

Anyone who's tending a garden right now knows what extreme heat can do to plants. Heat is also a concern for an important form of underwater gardening: growing corals and "outplanting," or transplanting them to restore damaged reefs.

Read More Show Less
Malte Mueller / Getty Images

By David Korten

Our present course puts humans on track to be among the species that expire in Earth's ongoing sixth mass extinction. In my conversations with thoughtful people, I am finding increasing acceptance of this horrific premise.

Read More Show Less
Women sort potatoes in the Andes Mountains near Cusco Peru on July 7, 2014. Thomas O'Neill / NurPhoto / Getty Images

By Alejandro Argumedo

August 9 is the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples – a celebration of the uniqueness of the traditions of Quechua, Huli, Zapotec, and thousands of other cultures, but also of the universality of potatoes, bananas, beans, and the rest of the foods that nourish the world. These crops did not arise out of thin air. They were domesticated over thousands of years, and continue to be nurtured, by Indigenous people. On this day we give thanks to these cultures for the diversity of our food.

Read More Show Less
A sand tiger shark swims over the USS Tarpon in Monitor National Marine Sanctuary. Tane Casserley / NOAA

By John R. Platt

Here at The Revelator, we love a good shark story.

The problem is, there aren't all that many good shark stories. According to recent research, sharks and their relatives represent one of the world's most imperiled groups of species. Of the more than 1,250 known species of sharks, skates, rays and chimeras — collectively known as chondrichthyan fishes — at least a quarter are threatened with extinction.

Read More Show Less
The Anderson Community Group. Left to right, Caroline Laur, Anita Foust, the Rev. Bryon Shoffner, and Bill Compton, came together to fight for environmental justice in their community. Anderson Community Group

By Isabella Garcia

On Thanksgiving Day 2019, right after Caroline Laur had finished giving thanks for her home, a neighbor at church told her that a company had submitted permit requests to build an asphalt plant in their community. The plans indicated the plant would be 250 feet from Laur's backdoor.

Read More Show Less
Berber woman cooks traditional flatbread using an earthen oven in her mud-walled village home located near the historic village of Ait Benhaddou in Morocco, Africa on Jan. 4, 2016. Creative Touch Imaging Ltd. /NurPhoto / Getty Images

By Danielle Nierenberg and Jason Flatt

The world's Indigenous Peoples face severe and disproportionate rates of food insecurity. While Indigenous Peoples comprise 5 percent of the world's population, they account for 15 percent of the world's poor, according to the World Health Organization.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Danny Choo / CC BY-SA 2.0

By Olivia Sullivan

One of the many unfortunate outcomes of the coronavirus pandemic has been the quick and obvious increase in single-use plastic products. After COVID-19 arrived in the United States, many grocery stores prohibited customers from using reusable bags, coffee shops banned reusable mugs, and takeout food with plastic forks and knives became the new normal.

Read More Show Less