April 25, 2018

Roundup May be Linked to Fatal Kidney Disease Epidemic

According to an article in Truthout.org, the herbicide Roundup, made by Monsanto, may be linked to a fatal kidney disease epidemic in Central America, Sri Lanka, and India. The disease is rampant among poor farmers in those areas. Those farmers have been exposed to herbicides and heavy metals for decades in the course of their work.

Farm FieldDoctors are concerned because kidney disease has killed more people in El Salvador and Nicaragua than diabetes, HIV and leukemia combined in the last five years. CKDU is the second leading cause of death in men in El Salvador. The death toll is in the tens of thousands. The epidemic began about 20 years ago.

The disease is called Chronic Kidney Disease, or CKDu, of unknown cause. Early studies conducted by scientists looked at heavy metals, pesticides, and herbicides as the potential cause. A study published earlier this year in Sri Lanka postulates that glyphosate in Roundup, in combination with heavy metals and hard water, is causing this epidemic.

Food Poisoning Bulletin has told you about problems with Roundup in the past. Glyphosate interrupts the shikimate pathway in plants and kills them. Doctors believed that Roundup didn’t harm mammals because we don’t have a shikimate pathway. But the gut bacteria in our intestines does. This may be another way that Roundup harms people.

Doctors have found that the kidney tubules are injured in CKDu, suggesting a toxin such as a heavy metal is responsible for the damage. Researchers believe that the chemical responsible was introduced into these countries in the last 30 years, which fits with Roundup distribution. The chemical most likely forms stable complexes with metals and acts as a carrier through the liver, avoiding detection by the body, and brings the metals to the kidneys where it damages them, causing kidney failure.

Glyphosate, the active compound in Roundup, binds to metals and is a chelating agent. It forms complexes with arsenic, cadmium, and other heavy metals in the soil and water in the countries affected; in other words, it acts exactly as doctors and researchers speculate.

This is not proof that the chemicals in Roundup are causing the problem, although it’s certainly a valid hypothesis. Heat stress may play a part in the disease development, and there may be other factors scientists aren’t aware of. Monsanto denies this claim.

Scientists and researchers say more studies are needed. In the meantime, Sri Lanka and El Salvador have banned glyphosate from their countries, according to the Center for Public Integrity.

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