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Study Connects Monsanto's Roundup to Fatal Kidney Disease Epidemic
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."
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By Jennifer Molidor, PhD
Climate change, habitat loss and pollution are overwhelming our planet. Thankfully, these enormous threats are being met by a bold new wave of environmental activism.
Trump Makes Strange Claim About Water Efficient Toilets: 'People Are Flushing Toilets 10 Times, 15 Times'
President Donald Trump mocked water-efficiency standards in new constructions last week. Trump said, "People are flushing toilets 10 times, 15 times, as opposed to once. They end up using more water. So, EPA is looking at that very strongly, at my suggestion." Trump asked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for a federal review of those standards since, he claimed with no evidence, that they are making bathrooms unusable and wasting water, as NBC News reported.
By Carey Gillam
Former Monsanto Chairman and CEO Hugh Grant will have to testify in person at a St. Louis-area trial set for January in litigation brought by a cancer-stricken woman who claims her disease was caused by exposure to the company's Roundup herbicide and that Monsanto covered up the risks instead of warning consumers.
A powerful volcano on Monday rocked an uninhabited island frequented by tourists about 30 miles off New Zealand's coast. Authorities have confirmed that five people died. They expect that number to rise as some are missing and police officials issued a statement that flights around the islands revealed "no signs of life had been seen at any point,", as The Guardian reported.
"Based on the information we have, we do not believe there are any survivors on the island," the police said in their official statement. "Police is working urgently to confirm the exact number of those who have died, further to the five confirmed deceased already."
The eruption happened on New Zealand's Whakaari/White Island, an islet jutting out of the Bay of Plenty, off the country's North Island. The island is privately owned and is typically visited for day-trips by thousands of tourists every year, according to The New York Times.
My god, White Island volcano in New Zealand erupted today for first time since 2001. My family and I had gotten off it 20 minutes before, were waiting at our boat about to leave when we saw it. Boat ride home tending to people our boat rescued was indescribable. #whiteisland pic.twitter.com/QJwWi12Tvt— Michael Schade (@sch) December 9, 2019
Michael Schade / Twitter
At the time of the eruption on Monday, about 50 passengers from the Ovation of Seas were on the island, including more than 30 who were part of a Royal Caribbean cruise trip, according to CNN. Twenty-three people, including the five dead, were evacuated from the island.
The eruption occurred at 2:11 pm local time on Monday, as footage from a crater camera owned and operated by GeoNet, New Zealand's geological hazards agency, shows. The camera also shows dozens of people walking near the rim as white smoke billows just before the eruption, according to Reuters.
Police were unable to reach the island because searing white ash posed imminent danger to rescue workers, said John Tims, New Zealand's deputy police commissioner, as he stood next to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in a press conference, as The New York Times reported. Tims said rescue workers would assess the safety of approaching the island on Tuesday morning. "We know the urgency to go back to the island," he told reporters.
"The physical environment is unsafe for us to return to the island," Tims added, as CNN reported. "It's important that we consider the health and safety of rescuers, so we're taking advice from experts going forward."
Authorities have had no communication with anyone on the island. They are frantically working to identify how many people remain and who they are, according to CNN.
Geologists said the eruption is not unexpected and some questioned why the island is open to tourism.
"The volcano has been restless for a few weeks, resulting in the raising of the alert level, so that this eruption is not really a surprise," said Bill McGuire, emeritus professor of geophysical and climate hazards at University College London, as The Guardian reported.
"White Island has been a disaster waiting to happen for many years," said Raymond Cas, emeritus professor at Monash University's school of earth, atmosphere and environment, as The Guardian reported. "Having visited it twice, I have always felt that it was too dangerous to allow the daily tour groups that visit the uninhabited island volcano by boat and helicopter."
The prime minister arrived Monday night in Whakatane, the town closest to the eruption, where day boats visiting the island are docked. Whakatane has a large Maori population.
Ardern met with local council leaders on Monday. She is scheduled to meet with search and rescue teams and will speak to the media at 7 a.m. local time (1 p.m. EST), after drones survey the island, as CNN reported.
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