The Asian country immediately banned the use of Monsanto's Roundup herbicide after the results of a University study were published which blames the herbicide for serious and fatal kidney disease affecting farmers.
The severe renal disease CKDu hit 400,000 farmers in Sri Lanka, 15% of the population of the northern- central province, causing an estimated of 20 000 deaths. The disease occurs after the exposure to the Monsanto herbicide glyphosate (Roundup) especially if you drink hard water and you are exposed to nephrotoxic metals.
The countries decision was taken after El Salvador decided to ban the herbicide last September, but it has not yet been put into action.
Researchers have found a significant correlation with three factors. The first is the use of glyphosate, sold by Monsanto under the 'Roundup' trade name, whose sales in Sri Lanka have increased by 150% from 800 to 1,800 tons in just five years from 2000 to 2005.
It's a huge amount, equal to about 1.6 kg for every arable land hectare, considering that on average in Asia less than half a kg of pesticides are used per hectare of any kind.
The other risk factors are the consumption of hard water and exposure to metals such as cadmium and arsenic.
The combination of these factors affects many people in the world; In fact, the disease is the second leading cause of death among adult males in El Salvador and even in Nicaragua it hits hard.
Roundup is one of the world's best-selling herbicides but according to other authoritative research it is suspect as a cause for cancer, Parkinson's disease, birth defects and infertility.
Analysing the data available, researchers have verified that glyphosate is toxic, but alone it is not able to destroy the kidney tissue, when it is mixed with "hard" water and with the presence of heavy metals such as arsenic and cadmium, it becomes extremely dangerous for kidney health. These substances, such as arsenic and cadmium, are naturally present in the soil or are added through the topdressing. The combination of these elements would be sufficient to cause an insurgence of the disease.
According to the study, this severe chronic kidney disease (CKDu) would have been detected among the rice producers in some provinces of Sri Lanka in the mid-90s; spreading the affliction to up to 15% of working-age people in the northern part of the country.
On the other hand the U.S, GM crops homeland, published graphs based on data from the USDA, the National Cancer Institute's Centre for Disease Control, which highlighted the increase of renal disease coinciding with the introduction of glyphosate.