Mis-representation of facts about “Glyphosate”.
Posted on June 16th, 2015

By   Bodhi Dhanapala, Quebec, Canada.

In a news report by Don Asoka Wijewardena in the Island newspaper  (15th of June, 2015), we are told that Scientists welcome glyphosate Ban …..”

However, it should be stated that the vast majority of Sri Lankan scientists had expressed opposition to the ban via the National Academy of Sciences, as well as via a communique by the leading scientists of the  kidney research initiative in Peradeniya which includes a number of renowned nephrologists, chemists, agriculturists,  geologists etc.  This applies to all the major countries be they in the West or East, where the  main-stream scientists speaking though their national academies, food and agriculture authorities have all taken pains to explain that the WHO-ruling does not affect existing agricultural practice.  Glyphosate is freely available to the consumer in, e.g., the USA, Canada or Australia and there is no substantial public hysteria. However, in France the government has pacified irrational public fears by controlling  the over-the-counter sales to unregistered individuals. However, it should be noted that France generates nearly 80% of its electricity from nuclear power, ignoring occasional public  outbursts questioning the safety of nuclear energy. Because of this, France has never been subject to the burden of high oil prices.

The number of scientists who support the ban can be counted on one’s fingers, and are associated with Dr. Jayasumana, a follower of Dr. Nalin de Silva’s claims about Arsenic being the cause of kidney disease. This has the political patronage of  Ven. Rathana, a key figure in the present Power structure. Dr. Jayasumana et al claim that Arsenic and Glyphosate together cause kidney disease, even though neither Arsenic, nor Glyphosate has been detected in the Rajarata water table, even at the level of one part of the suspected substance per billion  parts of water.  This essential absence of As and other metal toxins etc  have been confirmed by at least three independent studies beside the WHO-sponsored study that came out in 2013.

In effect, the main-stream scientists (i.e., the vast majority of scientists who have taken an interest in the problem) feel that there is no cause for banning Glyphosate which is being used in a big way by most countries that are leaders in Agriculture. That is, basically, USA, Europe, Australia, Russia and China.

It is very interesting to note that the concentrated effort to ban Glyphosate  has been launched when China became the leading exporter of this herbicide. The  patent (held by Monsanto) had expired and China has successfully displace all other manufacturers and become the leading supplier and a leading user of it. Hence banning Glyphosate is in keeping with the mistaken foreign policy of the so-called Yaha-paalanaya” government where there are  slowly burning their links with China and trying hard to tie their sails to the American   standard.

When it is stated that Glyphosate and Arsenic are not detected even at the level of 10 parts per billion, most people do not appreciate what this means.  Less  than 10 parts per billion is like not even 10 terrorists being in the whole of India which has roughly  a billion (1,000,000, 000) people. That is, for 20,000,000 (roughly Lanka’s population), we would have not even 1/5 of one terrorist in the country!  Do we take draconian steps when that is the case, putting our plantation economy at risk?
To claim that such virtually non-existent substances are causing Kidney disease or any other disease would be similar to claiming that an unsolved murder by stabbing was done by some one who was not even in the country when the crime happened.

Is President Sirisena banning Glyphosate because of less than 1/5 of a terrorist, when he is alleged to be releasing LTTE prisoners, while his foreign minister is holding talks with Father Emmanuel!

Although all environmental issues are complex, the public has no time to go thorough the intricate arguments of scientists. Some even prefer to be told that the answer came from a divine revelation, be it Vishnu or Natha. When ever there was an epidemic, it was normal to seek divine help. Allowing scientists and doctors to handle epidemics have been a very recent experience in human history, and sometimes, even today,  the Kattadiyas and Astrologers can take the upper hand.

Although the average life expectancy has  increased dramatically, with infant mortality rates dropping to near zero, people prefer to believe that they are less healthy than in the days of yore. While the quality of food and water and the standard of housing and sanitation enjoyed  by the majority of the people have improved by leaps and bounds, they think that matters have worsened. They only have idyllic and nostalgic ideas of ancient times. Also, they can always  see much better living standards in TV shows and tourist hotels.

If people are getting ill, it cannot be their lack of exercise, sugar, salt and fat laced food.  It cannot be something wrong here at home. It must bet the pesticide and fertilizer resides residues poisoning us food chain.  In fact one writer remarked that  Western companies exploit to the maximum the less developed countries by supplying low quality agricultural chemicals such as glyphosate ,  high in toxins while working with the developed countries in keeping with approved standards.” Thus we have a conspiracy theory, and a colonial exploitation theory where the Western companies are deliberately selling poison. Presumably, the Glyphosate used in the west is not toxic, but what is sold to us is toxic!

In fact, when the WHO-report arrived in2013, a lot of people were surprised and angered that the analytical chemists  found no evidence of significant levels of heavy metal toxins, pesticide residues etc., in our soil, water or rice! Even scientists rejected it finding fault with it. However, subsequent chemical analyses by other independent research have confirmed this position and our environment is in much better shape than we thought!

And yet, some people want to ban pesticides, fertilizers etc., as a matter of precaution. Unfortunately, although all of us like to get rid of them, the alternatives will in the end lead to dire consequences. So developing countries need to learn to use them correctly, as they do very successfully in more technically advanced countries.. If we go back to traditional agriculture, we would be increasing soil erosion, and generating enormous amounts of green house gases from our compost pits. We would be increasing the amount of metal toxins in the composted manure in each cycle of composting as plants bio-accumulate toxins and  the toxins get transferred to the compost. In the end, the harvests are also very low, with huge demands on water and manual labour. The latter will surely  lead to the re-enslavement of poor people, and the continued torture of cattle and other animals as beasts of burden.

It is in this light that we should look at the governments ban on glyphosate.

7 Responses to “Mis-representation of facts about “Glyphosate”.”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    IF the chemical is so good and useful as you say, WHY haven’t the farmers protested the ban?

    IF you are right, Maru Sira’s camp will LOSE VOTES for banning it. A good thing for the country.

    But I AGREE with you that we should look at BOTH SIDES of the problem.

    We should keep in mind every delay kills more people by kidney problem.

  2. Christie Says:

    Namaste: The active ingredient in Roundup, glyphosate, was in March classified as “probably carcinogenic to humans” by the UN’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).The weedkiller—used by amateur gardeners as well as farmers—is the star product of American biotechnology giant Monsanto. Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2015-06-france-sale-monsanto-herbicide-roundup.html#jCp. Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2015-06-france-sale-monsanto-herbicide-roundup.html#jCp

    I am sure most of our glyphosate comes from India manufactured by Monsanto India where even Nestle Maggi Noodles manufactured in India has ben found to be not fit for human consumption. The writer is in Quebec Canada were it is used under strict conditions and protective conditions. There is no question Indian glyphosate is no different to Indian Maggi Noodles and contains other ingredients like heavy metals that is very harmful to humans. I challenge the writer to write and publish and bring in to the public arena of Quebec what he has written here. If it is not good for Canada then it is definitely not good for us. Jai Hind

    PS; Sirisena has banned the import and the importers have have 15 years supply. Indian Monsanto glyphosate prices have gone down drastically due to generic glyphosate and Monsanto India share prices have gone down. It is important to know the origin of the glyphosate imported to the island and I am sure the generics are manufactured under Bhopal conditions. But in this case the victims include those in Ceylon.

  3. Fran Diaz Says:

    I agree with Christie : We must know from where the Glyphosate originated. How Glyphosate reacts with heavy metals etc is yet not established, is it ?
    Till we know all the facts re Glyphosate, this herbicide should be banned. I heard that two giant supermarkets (Migros & Coop) in Switzerland have recently banned Glyphosate.

  4. kavdayako Says:

    Christie says that the Glyphosate coming to Sri lanka is toxic unlike those in advanced countries like Canada. How does he know?
    Surely the National Academy of scientists, the Registrar of Pesticides, the Standards Bureau, and the Industrial Technology Institute of Sri Lanka have the mandate to analyze these imports and ban the stuff if they are full of toxins.
    Are you saying that ALL these people, and all the nation’s scientists except for Dr. Jayasumana and Dr. Nalin de Silva’s friends have been BRIBED?
    If so, they should be investigated and prosecuted instead of banning a substance vital to the economy.
    The national academy should be investigated.
    The regulatory institutions should be made to work according to the law. Or, those who claim that the scientists
    are taking bribes should be prosecuted for making false statements and libel.

    We have about 3 vocal scientists,and Ven. Ratana and other politicians leading a campaign based on an alleged revelation from God Natha. We don’t care if they get the idea from God Natha or a woman in a trance, but the idea must be proven by showing evidence
    Most of the Glyphosate imported is used is in areas like Upcountry, or Rubber growing districts (e.g., agalawatta), but there is no kidney disease there.

    Furthermore, on analyzing the soil and water
    NO GLYPHOSATE has been found in the RAJARATA.
    So it CANNOT be the cause of ill health in the Rajarata.

    The vast majority of scientists are stating what is based on evidence. There is NO REASON to ban glyphosate.
    Banning glyphosate is to put the already highly competitive Tea economy down under.

    If your doctors does an analysis of your blood, and if there is no excess sugar found in it, DO YOU

    Banning the wrong substance to prevent some thing not proven is like killing
    the watch dog on suspicion that the baby has been killed, when the blood on the dog was there
    because the dog killed the python which attempted to attack the baby.

  5. Fran Diaz Says:

    Glyphosate may be acting as a CATALYST in chemical reactions with water and soil pollutants. We do not know the whole story.

    Suggestion: Sri Lanka scientists have to have discussions with their counterparts in other countries suffering the same fate with Glyphosate.

  6. kavdayako Says:

    Thanks for Fran’s comment.

    The problem is, Glyphosate is just NOT FOUND to be there. So how can it act as a catalyst is it is NOT PRESENT?

    other countries use Glyphosate in much much larger amounts that Sri lanka. The biggest user is USA.
    Between 1987 and 2012, annual U.S. farm use grew from less than 11 million pounds to nearly 300 million pounds.
    In addition, some five million acres in California were treated with glyphosate in 2012 to grow almonds, peaches, onions, cantaloupe, cherries, sweet corn, citrus, grapes, and other edible crops.

    THOSE COUNTRIES DO NOT HAVE ANY PROBLEM THAT CAN BE LINKED WITH GLYPHOSATE. If Glyp is a “catalyst” for something or other, it should do it there in the US, or in the tea estates of India, China, South Africa and Sri lanka. But there is no trouble there.

  7. Lorenzo Says:

    “If Glyp is a “catalyst” for something or other, it should do it there in the US”

    It is there in the US. Over 38 US state CONTAMINATED by it!!

    Please follow the link.


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