Farmers face double whammy

Cancer in addition to CKD:

By Don Asoka Wijewardena 

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) Research Scientist Dr. Channa Jayasumana yesterday warned farmers in CKD endemic areas were stricken with cancer.

Dr. Jayasumana pointed out that the research team headed by him would conduct a comprehensive survey on how and why those farmers had been affected by cancer above the national average. Many CKD researchers had shown scientifically that the constant use of agrochemicals let alone glyphosate were responsible for contaminating the water sources and the eco-system in those areas.

Dr. Jayasumana said it was the bounden duty of the government to appoint medical specialists to conduct a comprehensive survey on the increasing incidence of cancer among farmers.

Former Deputy Director Customs (Bio-Diversity and Cultural and National Heritage) Samantha Gunasekera, contacted for comment, said that the mere banning of harmful herbicide glyphosate would not be of any benefit to the country, unless the government established an accredited agrochemical quality assurance laboratory and set up an enforcement mechanism to monitor what the agrochemical companies marketed here.

Gunasekera pointed out that the lists of registered agrochemicals should be updated every two years. But, it had not been done for the last 40 years or so. The agrochemical companies presented their chemical samples to the Registrar of Pesticides, who recommended and referred them to the import controller. So, the import controller with the recommendation of the ROP issued the import licence to respective company to import agrochemicals. When the stocks of agrochemicals arrived in Sri Lanka, they was dispatched to various places and sold to farmers and planters. The government so far had no accredited laboratory to test the agrochemicals to find out whether they were injurious to human health or not, Gunasekera said.

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