CKDu and Agrochemicals


A large number of research studies have been carried out in Sri Lanka during the last few years on Chronic Kidney Disease of unknown etiology (CKDu), which can also be called Chronic Renal Failure. Based on the results of these research studies, CKDu is attributed to a toxic element/s or compound/s in drinking water. Among these are aluminum, arsenic, cadmium, fluoride, toxins released by Blue Green Algae, pesticides etc. Most scientists are of the view that CKDu is of mutifactorial origin. Now, Dr. Channa Jayasumana (CJ), as reported in his previous letters in The Island, has come out with a hypothesis that CKDu is caused by agrochemicals and hard water. I requested CJ to specify what these agrochemicals are. His answer is " Any agrochemical which contains arsenic and heavy metals (Cadmium, Chromium, Nickel, Lead, etc) is responsible" CJ has not even quantified his answer. The heavy metals CJ has mentioned may also be found in the food we consume. Hence, CJ, can you please indicate the agrochemicals which contain these heavy metals, and their concentrations. I am sure that this data will give the general public and the decision makers a better idea on the causal factors of CKDu.

In view of the undesirable effects of CKDu on the social and economic aspects of the country, it is important that a comprehensive integrated research study is undertaken by an organization such as the National Science Foundation. Results of such a study would be useful in taking relevant actions to control CKDu. In the mean time, action need to be taken to distribute good quality water to the people in the affected areas. In this regard the Ministry of Water Supply and Drainage under the direction of Minister Dinesh Guawardena has already initiated distribution of good quality water to people in the affected areas. Also, the Water Board and the National Community Water Trust of the ministry has got eight Reverse Osmosis (RO) plants installed in CKDu affected areas. Eight more RO plants will be commissioned in the near future. A large number of people in these areas are making use of the good quality water obtained from RO plants.

I am thankful to CJ for extending an invitation to me for a debate on the link between CKDu and agrochemicals. However, it would be much more desirable and effective if CJ can explain his theory or theories on CKDu by making a presentation to the scientific community of the country. Such a presentation will enable CJ to educate the scientists and the general public on causal factors of CKDu, and also convince those who take policy decisions on CKDu and the use of agrochemicals

Dr.C.S. Weeraratna

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