The old saying one step forward two steps back comes to mind as Sri Lanka announces that despite several studies linking the use of herbicides like Monsanto’s RoundUp to kidney disease in farmers, it will postpone the ban on toxic glyphosate that was instated just months ago. Why? Because Monsanto complained and pushed back.
Just as in the case of the Mexican Judge Monsanto is trying to remove from his seat due to his repeated decisions to ban GMO corn in their country, the Big Ag Giant and chemical seller is throwing its weight around in Sri Lanka. Monsanto believes it will get it’s way no matter what, but not if everyone supports Sri Lankan citizens who fight back on this abhorrent reversal of a previously upstanding decision.
Previously the Sri Lankan minister of agriculture told reporters that glyphosate should be removed from the entire country’s marketplace because it was causing a kidney disease epidemic. Recently published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, and echoed in reports from the Center for Public Integrity, it was reported that fatal chronic kidney disease of unknown origin, or CKDu, had killed more people in El Salvador and Nicaragua than AIDS, diabetes, and leukemia combined over the past five years.
This wave of CKDu affecting numerous poor farming countries around the world simply didn’t exist prior to 1990 when glyphosate started to be used heavily. Sri Lanka was similarly affected. Furthermore, political changes which occurred in Sri Lanka in the 1970s allowed ghastly amounts of pesticides and herbicides to be sprayed all over the country. Scientists pinpointed a correlation between herbicide use and kidney disease deaths.
Now, in a perverse twist of events and influence from Monsanto, Sri Lanka is lifting the ban.
Thomas Helscher, director of corporate affairs at Monsanto, told the Center for Public Integrity:
“There is no evidence that glyphosate complexes effectively with arsenic, cadmium, or other nephrotoxic metals. Glyphosate is actually a relatively poor chelator for heavy metals when compared to pharmacological chelation agents.”
Once again, Monsanto’s bulging pockets have unduly influenced politicians making decisions about an entire country’s health. Why not keep the ban in place until it can be proven by independent scientists that glyphosate is truly harmless? Oh, yea. We all know that would never happen.