Ban on glyphosate and misrepresentation of facts


In a news report by Don Asoka Wijewardena in the Island newspaper (15th of June, 2015), we are told that "Scientists welcome glyphosate Ban …"

However, it should be stated that the vast majority of Sri Lankan scientists had expressed opposition to the ban via the National Academy of Sciences, as well as via a communique by the leading scientists of the kidney research initiative in Peradeniya which includes a number of renowned nephrologists, chemists, agriculturists, geologists etc.

The number of scientists who support the ban can be counted on one's fingers, and are associated with Dr. Jayasumana, a follower of Dr. Nalin de Silva's claims about Arsenic being the cause of kidney disease. Dr. Jayasumana et al claim that arsenic and glyphosate together cause kidney disease, even though neither Arsenic nor glyphosate has been detected in the Rajarata water table, even at the level of one part of the suspected substance per billion parts of water. This essential absence of As and other metal toxins etc have been confirmed by at least three independent studies beside the WHO-sponsored study that came out in 2013.

In effect, the mainstream scientists (i. e., the vast majority of scientists who have taken an interest in the problem) feel that there is no cause for banning Glyphosate which is being used in a big way by most countries that are leaders in agriculture such as the US, Europe, Australia, Russia and China.

It is very interesting to note that the concentrated effort to ban glyphosate has been launched when China became the leading exporter of this herbicide. The patent held by Monsanto had expired and China has successfully displaced all other manufacturers and become the leading supplier. Hence banning glyphosate is in keeping with the mistaken foreign policy of the so-called "yaha palanaya" government which is severing its links with China.

When it is stated that glyphosate and arsenic are not detected even at the level of 10 parts per billion, most people do not appreciate what this means. Less than 10 parts per billion is like not even 10 terrorists being in the whole of India which has roughly a billion (1,000,000, 000) people. That is, for 20,000,000 (roughly Lanka's population), we would have not even 1/5 of one terrorist in the country! Do we take draconian steps when that is the case, putting our plantation economy at risk? To claim that such virtually non-existent substances are causing Kidney disease or any other disease would be similar to claiming that an unsolved murder by stabbing was done by someone who was not even in the country when the crime happened.

Has President Sirisena banned glyphosate because of less than 1/5 of a terrorist, when he is alleged to be releasing LTTE prisoners, while his foreign minister is holding talks with Father Emmanuel!

Bodhi Dhanapala,

Quebec, Canada

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