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posted by janrinok on Wednesday July 30 2014, @07:04PM   Printer-friendly
from the Monsanto-is-having-a-bad-week dept.

Monsanto's RoundUp, a widely used pesticide, uses the active ingredient Glyphosate and it may be up for another serious beating. Medical specialists and scientists in Sri Lanka has found that when glyphosate comes in contact with heavy metals like cadmium, arsenic, manganese and cobalt which exist naturally in the soil or fertilizer, it becomes highly toxic and has a high likelihood of causing fatal kidney disease for anyone that comes into contact with it. And because the substance binds to metals it will not show up in current tests. The report (and another one) is published in International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health and has resulted in that the Sri Lanka president to ban glyphosate immediately.

Exposure to glyphosate causes a drop in amino acid tryptophan levels, which interrupts the necessary active signalling of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is associated with weight gain, depression, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. The report show that industry and regulators knew as long ago as the 1980's and 1990's that glyphosate causes malformation, but that information was not made public. Glyphosate is also a teratogenic.

Monsanto has been in the news quite recently.

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  • (Score: 4, Informative) by VLM on Wednesday July 30 2014, @07:23PM

    by VLM (445) on Wednesday July 30 2014, @07:23PM (#75647)

    The first real paper, as opposed to the woo woo electromagnetic therapy link, seems quite reasonable. If you drink borderline toxic water thats severely contaminated with heavy metals, it seems possible that a chelating agent would help you adsorb more heavy metals, thus killing the victims, and one roundup decay product can act like a chelating agent.

    That's a long way from saying it actually caused those problems. Hopefully they have samples somewhere or can run an experiment on mice or something?

    Kind of like discussing JFK assassination theories, a whole bucket of "could have" doesn't boil down to much.

    Something I don't understand about the epidemic in the 1st paper, is nothing has likely changed with respect to herbicide use, heavy metal contamination of the groundwater, and drinking water treatment. So the farmers should still be dropping like flies today, just like in the 90s. Why not?

    Its kind of important because everyone loves to hate roundup, but maybe the mystery chelating agent is some unmentioned insecticide or an industrial accident or a contaminant due to poor quality control in any of the above or in the roundup itself. So banning the wrong thing won't save any lives at all. On the other hand, if you know your drinking water is shit tier quality, adding any chelating agent of any kind would be kind of stupid, so banning a known chelating agent is wise although only a partial cure. If you're drinking shit tier water on a regular basis then banning one of a zillion ways to kick it over the limit and kill people isn't wise.

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  • (Score: 4, Informative) by frojack on Wednesday July 30 2014, @08:29PM

    by frojack (1554) on Wednesday July 30 2014, @08:29PM (#75673) Journal

    Pretty much sums up my assessment as well.

    Roundup isn't supposed to be found in drinking water. But then neither is that boatload of metals they mentioned.

    The water is so hard in the areas mentioned that there were significant problems before Roundup.

    (a) The number of villagers who complain that the ground water hardness in CKDu endemic
    area has increased steadily over the last two decades.

    (b) Certain shallow wells (2-5 m), which were previously been used for drinking purposes are
    now abandoned due to high hardness and bad taste.

    (c) There are a few natural springs located in the CKDu endemic area where water is not hard.

    People who consume water from these sources have been determined to be free from the

    (d) Individuals who drink treated water from large water supply schemes (especially in the two cities of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa), while living in the same endemic areas,
    do not have the disease.

    (e) In the adjoining farming areas of the Northern Province of Sri Lanka, where the ground
    water hardness level is known to also be hard or very hard, there have not been any
    significant number of CKDu cases reported.

    Oh, and that very hard water in the northern province but no liver disease?

    From later in the study:

    Furthermore, a comparatively low amount of agrochemicals has been used in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka, primarily due to a prohibition imposed by the government in this province. The prohibition was due to the potential of these agrochemicals being used in the production of Improvised Explosive Devices

    So their little built in (but unintended) experiment suggests it wasn't the roundup (Glyphosate is not explosive), it was probably the fertilizer they have been using, to excess, while continuing to drink heavy metal contaminated ground water which has the addition of fertilizer run-off.

    Much as we love to hate on Monsanto, this looks like the it could be a combination of many fertilizer products (as well as pesticides) in combination with water that should not be consumed.

    No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
    • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Friday August 01 2014, @02:31AM

      by Reziac (2489) on Friday August 01 2014, @02:31AM (#76212) Homepage

      Wells of 2 to 5 meters? that's not even groundwater as such; that's percolated runoff. I'd expect a shitload of undesirables in that water (including a more than average pathogen load). If our well here in Montana was that shallow, it'd be full of arsenic, just from natural leeching.

      Betcha their water doesn't pass muster no matter what you test it for, and the Roundup is, if anything, a minor element.

      Here's a hint, folks: don't stop digging when you hit first water. Drill down to 2nd water, and a host of bad-water issues go away.

      And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.