Cerberus goes giddy on Glyphosate fake news.
Posted on September 4th, 2017

By Chandre Dharmawardana, Ottawa, Canada.

Commenting on my article entitled The AluthParlimenthuwa” Debate on Glyphosate” that appeared in the Lankaweb ( http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items/2017/09/02/the-aluthparlimenthuwa-debate-on-glyphosate/),  a writer who uses the fake name Cerberus” has gone shopping for free  on the internet and comes back to tell us that glyhosate causes not only kidney disease, but also many other diseases. In my article I warned the reader that 90% of the internet news, especially on controversial topics  tend to be dominated by  fake news  (adorned by sensationalism). Try the internet news on Sri Lanka and the Eelam wars and you will see how much of it is fake news fully illustrated with Channel-4  movies and even fake tribunals attempting  to try those who put down one of the most ruthless terror groups in the world.

The controversy on Glyphosate is no different.  Much of the stuff on the internet is  put out by individuals and groups who have an axe to grind,  find a place in the lime light,  make money or enhance their agenda.  Cerberus even names Stephanie Seneff, one of the most thoroughly exposed cases of a fake expert” producing fake science” about Glyphosate. Stephanie is a computer engineer who in her retirement  had started a health start-up business”  promising to get you to live healthily up to the age of  110 years if you subscribe to her program. Of course, this program needed some publicity. What is the best way to get some publicity? Well, why not attack the public whipping horse  Monsanto? Why not claim that she is an MIT scientist” and write a research paper” on Glyphosate? But who will publish her paper when she has no data, and no  credentials in health science or chemistry?

But just then a Chinese businessman Mr. C  (who also has an office”  in Switzerland) had launched a new set of journals”  with the look” of serious scientific journals. These journals  have a simple business policy of publishing anything as long as a page charge” of 1500 Swiss francs were paid,  up front and no  more questions are asked!  The journals” were created to siphon off money from the need of many Chinese University graduate students (and third-world faculties) to publish research in international journals”.  Mr. C  can  provide them a European” journal based in Switzerland, but not requiring the stiff standards demanded by proper peer-reviewed scientific journals run by learned societies. Such peer-reviewed journals are run not only by learned societies, but even by very well-established publishing houses like McMillan, Wiley or World-Scientific (based on Singapore) and in such cases they have the backing of a peer. Thus World Scientific  uses Imperial College,  University of London as their  peer reference. But the journals founded by the Chinese businessman Mr. C  had none. Instead, it listed distinguished Nobel laureates  as editors of its journals even without permission from the so-named individuals! One of Mr. C’s journals was named Entropy”, while another was named  International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health” shortened to IJERPH.  So Stephanie Seneff and her co-author opted to send their  article ” to Entropy”.  Seneff et al  claimed that  Monsanto’s line of Roundup Ready genetically modified (GMO) seeds and glyphosate are  causing  most of the diseases and conditions associated with a Western diet,” including gastrointestinal disorders, diabetes, heart disease, depression, autism, infertility, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease.” Of course, this was the main theme of her Liveto110” business. What better publicity  can she have for her business  than this;  her article” was immediately picked up by the ant-Monsanto lobby and  flashed around the globe via many many Eco-heroic” websites  of the sort that Cerberus is quoting! These sites gave the impression that MIT research” proved it! Even Reuters fell for the bait and  was part of  the fake news that became news.

But the limelight shown on the journal Entropy” by all this revealed the nature of  the journals launched by Mr. C. His journals were blacklisted and included in Beals list”  of predatory journals”  that I mentioned in my original article in the Lankaweb where I gave the link to a report  on predatory journals (see the report in http://science.sciencemag.org/content/342/6154/60.summary). Even otherwise, if Cerberus had done some more homework instead of falling into the very first trap on his route  he would have found that respected science journalists like Keith Kloor and Paul Raeburn have written full exposures of the paper and the Reuters article in question. In effect it is NOT a study (no data is presented); the MIT” comes from Seneff’ affiliation with computer science.  That has nothing to do with health science, genetics or chemistry. Here is a sample of  what Kieth Koor (discover magazine)  wrote, given  at the following link:
http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/collideascape/2013/04/26/when-media-uncritically-cover-pseudoscience/#more-11062
<begin quote>
Anti-biotech activists, like their fellow travelers in the anti-vaccine movement, are masters at pseudoscience. As I’ve previously discussed, the really clever GMO opponents put a veneer of science on their propaganda. One recent example that an anti-GMO website approvingly pointed to was so obviously absurd that I was sure it  would be ignored by media. It’s a paper that suggests a chemical in Roundup, a widely used Monsanto herbicide, can remarkably explain a great number of the diseases and conditions that are prevalent in the modern industrialized world,” such as inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, depression, ADHD, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, multiple sclerosis, cancer, cachexia, infertility, and developmental malformations.” [UPDATE: As someone puts it on Twitter, the paper reads like it was scribbled on Glenn Beck’s chalkboard.”]
The paper is by two authors with dubious credentials and is such a mashup of pseudoscience and gibberish that actual scientists have been unable to make sense of it. As one of them also noted, the paper is published in a low-tier pay-for-play journal.”
The authors of the paper conclude that glyphosate, an ingredient used in Roundup may be the most important factor in the development of multiple chronic diseases and conditions that have become prevalent in Westernized societies.” This sweeping claim, combined with where it’s made and the backgrounds of the authors (one who works in computer science), should trigger alarm bells in anyone with a functioning brain, particularly journalists on the look-out for a good story”.
<end quote>
Alas, Cerberus swallowed  this  bait-hook-line-and sinker, and regurgitated the stuff  as his comments
on  my article! We can go through each and every one of the websites and links given by Cerberus and show how they are anchored in utter pseudoscience and fake news. But we don’t need to.  Anyone who can put forwards a thoroughly de-bunked person like  Stephanie Seneff with a straight face has to be thoroughly uninformed or a true believer who has forfeited all of his/her critical faculties. As for Dr. Thierry Vrain, I have already written about him, and so have others, explaining how  and why Vrain  began to espouse his fictions.  Cerberus can unearth them  for them himself.

Stephanie Seneff mentioned most of the illnesses she could think of, but did not know about chronic kidney disease. Most interestingly, the paper by Jayasumana, Sanath Gunatilleke, and Mrs Senanayake (the Kelaniya lady who claims to  get her scientific information from God Natha and made notorious by Dr. Nalin de Silva) also chose to publish their research paper” in one of the journals (IJERPH) launched only a year before by our infamous Chinese businessman. They also DID NOT HAVE ANY DATA in support of their claim that glyphosate, arsenic and calcium (from hard water)  form a complex” which causes Kidney Disease in the Rajarata  of Sri Lanka. So they called it a hypothesis”; they  paid the 1500 Swiss francs and published it. Here is the reference:
<begin reference>
Jayasumana C, Gunatilake S, Senanayake P  Glyphosate, hard water and nephrotoxic metals: Are they the culprits behind the epidemic of chronic kidney disease of unknown etiology in Sri Lanka? Int J Environ Res Public Health vol. 11, pages 2125–2147, year 2014.
<end reference>
Since then, even three years later, no evidence has been presented by these authors to prove their hypothesis” although public policy has been launched based on it, and some individuals have got faculty positions and kudos based on it. If glyphosate, arsenic and calcium ions in water  make a poisonous complex that causes kidney disease (named CKDu), they should mix the three components in a test tube and SHOW that such a complex IS  actually  formed as the first step. The next step is to show that the proposed complex”  causes CKDu. But NO, neither they, nor the others who have proceeded to ban glyphosate claiming that they want to save” the farmers from CKDu have shown that the culprit” even  exists! But all this fitted in with the pre-conceived views of the Raputin/Lysenko  like figures in SEMA that guide the agricultural policies of the Sri Lankan government!

The facts and evidence we have regarding glyphosate and CKDU point  in the  very opposite direction.
Let us briefly summarize them.
1)There is NO GLYPHOSATE or its break-down products  found in the blood, urine, hair,  or biopsies of CKDu patients even in significant trace amounts.
2) There is NO GLYPHOSATE or its break-down products  found in the water, soil or the environment of the areas where the sickness is found, even in significant trace amounts.
3) The toxic heavy elements that Jayasumana and others claim to have poisoned the water soil of Sri Lanka” have been looked for by many independent research groups including the WHO, Japanese and US researchers, and all have confirmed that there is not even ten parts per billion of these taoxic substances (i.e., not even significant traces have been found). Every farmer knows this as they see the egrets flocking behind their ploughs picking up the thriving earthworms and bugs in the soil, proving that the soil is heaalthy.
4)  There is NO CKDu in areas where glyphosate and fertilizers are used extensively, e.g., in the Hill country and in other agricultural areas in Sri Lanka.
5) Even globally, NewZealand uses 25-25 times the amount of agrochemicals used by Sri lanka. In fact most western countries  which practice intensive industrial agriculture, Malaysia  etc have no CKDu, while countries with lower  use of agrochemicals (e.g., El salvadore, Sri Lanka) have CKDU, why?
6). There is over-whelming evidence that the glyphosate used as a herbicide does its job of killing weeds safely and the residues are rapidly broken down in the hot tropical climate of Sri Lanka, converting glyphosate to soil-nutritious phosphate.
7). There is also strong evidence that  glyphosate remedies soil, when earthworms and other organisms grow better even in soils containing toxic metals (like Cadmium),  by converting the cadmium into insoluble materials, as found by several studies. For instance, an article in a proper peer-reviewed journal known as Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry” states the following:
<begin quote>
The acute and subacute toxicities of cadmium (Cd) to earthworm Eisenia fetida in the presence and absence of glyphosate were studied. Although Cd is highly toxic to E. fetida, the presence of glyphosate markedly reduced the acute toxicity of Cd to earthworm; both the mortality rate of the earthworms and the accumulation of Cd decreased with the increase of the glyphosate/Cd molar ratio. The subcellular distribution of Cd in E. fetida tissues showed that internal Cd was dominant in the intact cells fraction and the heat-stable proteins fraction. The presence of glyphosate reduced the concentration of Cd in all fractions, especially the intact cells. During a longer period of exposure, the weight loss of earthworm and the total Cd absorption was alleviated by glyphosate. Thus, the herbicide glyphosate can reduce the toxicity and bioavailability of Cd in the soil ecosystems at both short- and long-term exposures.
Environ Toxicol Chem 2014;33:2351–2357. © 2014 SETAC
<end quote>

So, we earnestly invite Cerberus to use only reliable publications and not sources from the internet that have been repeatedly challenged and unmasked for carrying faked news”.

3 Responses to “Cerberus goes giddy on Glyphosate fake news.”

  1. AnuD Says:

    Prof. dhrmawardane: HAs some one studied how the purity of glyphosate from different sources in order to see the effect of left over impurities ?. Researchers may be getting research material which is very pure. But, the comemrcial material may contain different heavy metal and other toxin purities. I read in one paper, there is one chemical in very minute amount and it carcinogenic. I don’t have that nemae right now.

  2. Senerath Says:

    I wonder whether Chandre is dare to drink 5 ml ( 1 teaspoon) of round up mixed with 100 ml of water to prove his point.
    There is no point writing long article to disprove anonymous commentators like us. I will appear in Canada to witness it and will bring the sample myself together with a letter of consent.

  3. Cerberus Says:

    There are very many who have written against Glyphosate including Timothy Vrain who was a former employee of Monsanto.
    As far as I understand Glyphosate kills plants by preventing most plants from making certain proteins. Glyphosate stops a specific enzyme pathway (Shikimic acid pathway) which is necessary for plants and some microorganisms. Glyphosate should not be used till weeds have actually sprouted. It is, however, non-selective and will kill almost all species of plants both wanted (crops) and unwanted plants (weeds). This same Shikimata pathway exists in the gut flora of many mammals and humans and ingestion of Glyphosate will interfere with it and cause various diseases. Furthermore, many countries have banned it. Therefore as a small country, Sri Lankans need to be very careful. We started using Glyphosate in the 1990’s and already have many people with Kidney disease. This disease has emerged as a major problem only a few years ago. There was a large-scale use of Glyphosate in Tea estates which then washes down into the lower levels where paddy farmers work. Various vendors in Sri Lanka had imported very large quantities and President Maithripala Sirisena banned it. I understand most of it has now gone into the black market.

    Until the issues about Glyphosate are clear Sri Lanka should avoid the use of these toxic weed killers which only enrich the companies who produce it and their spokesmen. Therefore please be cautious in promoting this weedicide in our little country till we know more about it. The companies who manufacture this product are so enormously wealthy that they tend to suppress any information inimical to the spread of its use in Agriculture.

    Readers, please read some of the following articles for your enlightenment.
    https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/intox.2013.6.issue-4/intox-2013-0026/intox-2013-0026.xml – Glyphosate, pathways to modern diseases II: Celiac sprue and gluten intolerance
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4392553/ – Glyphosate, pathways to modern diseases III: Manganese, neurological diseases, and associated pathologies
    http://www.fooddemocracynow.org/blog/2015/apr/13 – Op-Ed: Roundup’s Glyphosate’s Are Killing Our Gut Microbes
    http://news.backtotheroots.com/2016/08/28/glyphosate-a-complete-list-of-all-countries-that-have-banned-it/ – A Complete List Of All Countries That Have Banned Glyphosate
    http://m.wikihow.com/Avoid-Glyphosate-Residue – How to Avoid Glyphosate Residue
    https://biofoundations.org/how-to-detoxify-your-body-from-glyphosate-exposure/ – How to Detoxify Your Body from Glyphosate Exposure

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