Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health
, 2125-2147; doi:10.3390/ijerph110202125 International Journal of
Environmental Research and Public Health ISSN 1660-4601
Glyphosate, Hard Water and Nephrotoxic Metals: Are They the Culprits Behind the Epidemic of Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown Etiology in Sri Lanka?
*, Sarath Gunatilake
and Priyantha Senanayake
Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, Rajarata University, Anuradhapura 50008, Sri Lanka
Health Science Department, California State University, Long Beach, CA 90840, USA; E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hela Suwaya Organization, Malabe 10115, Sri Lanka; E-Mail: email@example.com
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed; E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Tel.:+94-714-393-989; Fax: +94-252-234-464.
Received: 17 December 2013; in revised form: 22 January 2014 / Accepted: 27 January 2014 / Published: 20 February 2014
The current chronic kidney disease epidemic, the major health issue in the rice paddy farming areas in Sri Lanka has been the subject of many scientific and political debates over the last decade. Although there is no agreement among scientists about the etiology of the disease, a majority of them has concluded that this is a toxic nephropathy. None of the hypotheses put forward so far could explain coherently the totality of clinical, biochemical, histopathological findings, and the unique geographical distribution of the disease and its appearance in the mid-1990s. A strong association between the consumption of hard water and the occurrence of this special kidney disease has been observed, but the relationship has not been explained consistently. Here, we have hypothesized the association of using glyphosate, the most widely used herbicide in the disease endemic area and its unique metal chelating properties. The possible role played by glyphosate-metal complexes in this epidemic has not been given any serious consideration by investigators for the last two decades. Furthermore, it may explain similar kidney disease epidemics observed in Andra Pradesh (India) and Central America. Although glyphosate alone does not cause an epidemic of chronic kidney disease,