Dangerous effects of Glyphosate
Posted on April 1st, 2014

Akila Weerasekera

Recently Sri Lankan scientists and medical professionals have written many articles regarding the GOSL’s contemplation of banning the herbicide Roundup (Monsanto). They have continued to ignore the studies eliciting the dangerous effects of Roundup and advocate the use of agrochemicals for farming.

Glyphosate, Roundup’s active ingredient, is the most widely used herbicide in many countries.  Until now, most health studies have focused on the safety of glyphosate, rather than the mixture of ingredients found in Roundup. But according to a new study, scientists found that Roundup’s inert ingredients amplified the toxic effect on human cells even at concentrations much more diluted than those used on farms and lawns.

Monsanto is a multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation based in the United States. They are the world’s leading producer of Roundup and also the largest producer of genetically engineered seeds on the planet. Throughout its history, Monsanto has developed chemical products which have eventually become controversial or been banned, including DDT, Agent Orange, Bovine Growth Hormone, and polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs).

It is a well known fact that scientists who contradict Monsanto and seek to expose the dangers of GMO crops and Roundup face censorship, ridicule and retraction of their studies.  This begs us to question the motives of these Sri Lankan medical professionals and scientists. Are they voicing their concern purely based on national interests or are they carrying out a Monsanto disinformation campaign?

In the middle of the last century the insecticide DDT was highly praised and considered indispensable. For its producers, DDT was a big business. However, due to its chemical stability, DDT accumulated in the fatty tissue of animals and humans which raised concerns that the substance might be carcinogenic. Following years of controversy, DDT was finally banned in the 1970s.

As a nation we should ask ourselves what our health is worth to us and whether we want ourselves and our children to consume more and more glyphosate in the future. There were alternatives to DDT, and there are alternatives to Roundup now. It is up to consumers, farmers and the relevant agencies to put a stop to the accumulation of glyphosate in our food supply and environment.



4 Responses to “Dangerous effects of Glyphosate”

  1. Fran Diaz Says:

    Akila, thanks for this write up.


    I checked some facts on the Glyphosate issue and the articles on the internet state that Monsanto patent on Glyphosate expired in 2000. This means the chemical Glyphosate can be used by anyone producing weed killers. It can be marketed under other brand names and not only through Roundup.

    The public and GoSL authorities must be aware of this fact.

    Some other facts :

    * Glyphosate suspended in water can be easily absorbed through skin. Farmers working in muddy paddy fields are susceptible to this and consequent disease such as CKD. Farmers in Japan wear galosh type boots, and gloves, as protection. Paddy farmers in Lanka should do the same.

    Cleaning the waters of contaminated areas will take a long time. Till then, Reverse Osmosis (RO) systems have to be installed in every province to provide clean drinking and household water. This is a massive task. Sri Lanka is FORCED to waste time, energy and funds on various useless exercises, without attending to the needs of the People. Paddy Farmers are some of the VIPs of Lanka. Rice is our staple food.

    To prevent/control weed growth, best use the old time tested natural ways as far as is possible. Crop rotation, and growing shallow feeding and useful ground cover such as clover (Sinhala: Undupeeliya) between the main crop, are methods to prevent/control growth of weeds.

  2. Akila Weerasekara Says:

    Very little research has been done on the development of process technology for food production and devising strategies for their rational use in Sri Lanka. Instead of wasting millions of dollars on temporary ‘patching’ solutions more money should go to research and development of novel-safer methods (get inspired by traditional methods instead of belittling these techniques or romanticizing them).

    Instead of encouraging farmers to be dependent of toxic agrochemicals, introduce new methods, advocate the benefits for themselves and consumers, pay attention not only to quantity but also the quality of the food we consume.

    Use of traditional methods-(Kudagamage 1995; Hewage et.al 1997)

    Neem seed water extract is recommended for vegetable pests (Anon 1997)

    Botanicals and vegetable oils as controlling storage pests (Rajapacksa  et.al  1997)

    Methyl euginol traps (Ekanayake & Bandara 2003)

    Natural pest repellents, host resistance plants

    Organic Farming (Amarasiri and Weerasinghe, 1977)

  3. Fran Diaz Says:

    Talking of simple methods to get rid of pests – here is a simple recipe to get rid of roach pests in homes :

    Mix one part Boric acid powder with about 4 parts white flour and one part powdered white sugar. Add a little water to form a paste. Make tiny balls and sprinkle in areas usually frequented by roaches. The Boric acid is poisonous to the roaches but they eat it anyway because of the sugar. Keep mix out of reach of kids and pets.

  4. Fran Diaz Says:

    Good news from more professions :

    Sri Lankan docs in US urge President to ban glyphosate
    April 3, 2014, 10:15 pm – Island

    by Don Asoka Wijewardena

    A group of Sri Lankan scientists and doctors living in the US has written to President Mahinda Rajapaksa to implement his decision to ban weedicides containing glyphosate.

    Praising the President for his bold action to solve the problem of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) which snuffs out 13 lives in Sri Lanka per day, they have urged him not to give in to pressure.

    The ban must be maintained until special interest groups prove beyond doubt that such agro-chemicals are not injurious to human health, they have said.

    Approximately 5,000 farmers in the North-Central province (NCP) in Sri Lanka dies of CKD. Many cases go undiagnosed.

    Sri Lanka scientists have proved that glyphosate in weedicides is the root cause of the CKD.

    A group of Sri Lankan scientists met Special Projects Minister S. M. Chandrasena recently and informed him that glyphosate was responsible for CKD. Thereafter Minister Chandrasena briefed President Rajapaksa, who ordered a ban on glyphosate in Sri Lanka. However, the presidential order has not yet been carried out.

    The letter urging the President to ban glyphosate has been signed by Dr. Iresha Goonesinghe (MD, FACP, FACC, MACPE) Consultant Cardiologist, California; Dr. Niranjala Tillkaratne (PhD, Research Pro.Senior Scientist University of California, Los Angeles); Dr. Rasika Wikremasinghe (MD, FACC) Consultant Cardiologist) California; Dr. Chandrika Seneviratne (MD) Consultant Pathologist) California; Dr. Himanshu Wickreamasinghe (MD, FACCP) Consultant Pulmonologists) California; Dr. Lasika Seneviratne (MD) Consultant Haematologist and Oncology) California and Dr. Mohan Kumararatne (MBBS FAAP Consultant Pediatrician) California.

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