Glyphosate application in Sri Lankan agricultural Lands: do we circumvent Chronic Kidney Disease of unknown etiology?
Chronic kidney disease of unknown etiology (CKDu) has been a critical health concern, particularly in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka for two decades. Glyphosate [N-(phosphonomethyl)glycine] was the widely used herbicide in Sri Lanka until banned in 2015 for agricultural practices and is underpinned to be a triggering agent for CKDu. Glyphosate is commercially available as Roundup® in Sri Lanka. In comparison to other herbicides applied in agricultural practices in Sri Lanka, Roundup® was popular due to its high efficiency and effectiveness in weed control and low toxicity to non-target organisms. Ingestion of water contaminated with glyphosate and glyphosate-metal complexes formed subsequently with calcium and magnesium ions present in hard water is implicated to be instigating CKDu. The presence of glyphosate in Sri Lankan agricultural soils and potable waters in the CKDu prevalent areas has been still debating among the scientific community. Since there had been no evidence to showcase the glyphosate levels present in different matrices of the environment (soil and water), a comprehensive study was undertaken by the University of Moratuwa to investigate the presence and persistence of glyphosate in the CKDu prevalent areas.