Sri Lanka: President Bans Glyphosate Herbicides

The president of Sri Lanka, has banned the import of glyphosate herbicides, including Monsanto’s trademark Roundup. Release of already imported stocks has also been stopped.

The ban came out of concern that the chemical may be linked to a fatal kidney disease that could kill agricultural workers

President Maithripala Sirisena, a farmer and former health minister has said that the move would protect the Sri Lankan farming community as glyphosate is responsible for the increasing number of chronic kidney disease (CKDu) patients in Sri Lanka.

A chronic kidney disease has been affecting poor farming regions all over the world, and a new study that was published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health suggests that Roundup, or glyphosate, becomes highly toxic to the kidney once mixed with “hard” water or metals like cadmium and arsenic. These metals often exist naturally in the soil or are added via the fertilizer

Sustainable Pulse reports: In Sri Lanka alone CKDu now afflicts 15% of people of working age in the Northern part of the country; a total of 400,000 patients with an estimated death toll of around 20,000.

Watch the videos “Mystery in the Fields” and “Cycle of Death” for 5 minute documentaries providing additional background information on afflicted areas around the world.

Sri Lanka’s ban comes after two scientific studies led by Dr. Jayasumana showed that drinking water from abandoned wells, where the concentrations of glyphosate and metals are higher, as well as spraying glyphosate, increased the risk of the deadly chronic kidney disease (CKDu) by up to 5-fold.
It also follows the recent World Health Organization announcement that glyphosate is a probable human carcinogen.

Sri Lanka did ban the sale of glyphosate herbicides in March 2014 but this decision was overturned in May 2014 after a review. The decision by Sri Lanka’s new President, however, has huge significance following the latest WHO report on glyphosate.

Sri Lanka now becomes the second country to fully ban the sale of glyphosate herbicides following El Salvador’s decision in 2013, also taken due to the fatal CKDu disease. Bermuda has also put a temporary ban on glyphosate imports and is holding a review.