In Central America, India and Sri Lanka, a disease has been rampaging through farmers for the past 30 years.  This disease is called CKDu or Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown etiology, meaning that nobody knows what causes it.  It seems to occur most often in poor farmers who do hard labor in hot areas.  Farmers who acquire this fatal disease have always been exposed to herbicides and heavy metals.  This diseases is unheard of by most medical practitioners.  

However, CKDu is now the second leading cause of mortality among men in El Salvador.

Besides El Salvador, India and Sri Lanka are the two hardest hit countries.  In Sri Lanka, a horrifying  20,000 people have died from CKDu in only the past two decades.  More men die from CKDu in El Salvador and Nicaragua than they do from HIV/Aids, Leukemia and Diabetes combined.  In a rural area of Nicaragua, so many men have died that the community is called “The Island of the Widows.” 

Dr. Channa Jayasumana, Dr. Sarath Gunatilake and Dr. Priyantha Senanayake, have researched CKDu and believe that they know what is causing it.  Looking at it logically, it would have to be something newly introduced into the country within the last 30 years as the first cases occurred in the 1990s.  Incorporating a few other variables, the researchers believe the cause of CKDu is glyphosate-an herbicide produced by Monsanto.

Glyphosate is very common in the countries where CKDu occurs and farmers are very unprotected while spraying this herbicide due to the poverty they live in.

Glyphosate is extremely common in the United States as well.  The Monsanto website claims Glyphosate is very safe:

Glyphosate binds tightly to most types of soil so it is not available for uptake by roots of nearby plants. It works by disrupting a plant enzyme involved in the production of amino acids that are essential to plant growth. The enzyme, EPSP synthase, is not present in humans or animals, contributing to the low risk to human health from the use of glyphosate according to label directions.

Monsanto, unsurprisingly is stating that its herbicide has nothing to do withCKDu.  Considering that Glyphosate and related products such as Roundup ready crops compose half of Monsanto’s yearly revenue nobody is really surprised.

We don’t conclusively know what CKDu is caused by, but both Sri Lanka and El Salvador have been wise enough to ban glyphosate.  Unfortunately, Monsanto has successfully pressured both governments into reversing the ban.  Hopefully the people of those countries can put more pressure on their leadership than Monsanto.

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What is your opinion of Monsanto?

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