It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


Help ATS via PayPal:
learn more

Mysterious Kidney Disease Is Killing Farmworkers In Central America. Could Round Up Be The Cause?

page: 1

log in


posted on Apr, 30 2014 @ 03:04 PM
Came across this article from NPR. The number of men, young men, dying of kidney failure is unreal.

In Central America (Chichigalpa, Nicaragua) a form of kidney disease is attacking men in the prime of their lives. Researchers are struggling to explain what's causing it.

The condition appears to be concentrated among male agricultural workers, particularly sugar cane cutters, along the Pacific coast.
The first reports of this disease date back at least 20 years. At first the clusters of men dying of kidney failure was dismissed as a fluke. Then it was written off as diabetes or some other underlying health problem that hadn't been correctly diagnosed.

Despite years of research all over the world, scientists still can't definitively pinpoint the cause.
The disease is killing relatively young men, sometimes while they're still in their early 20s. Researchers at Boston University have attributed about 20,000 deaths to this form of kidney failure over the past two decades in Central America.

As the disease progresses, agricultural laborers, who may earn a couple of thousand dollars a year, if they're lucky, end up in need of dialysis that costs tens of thousands of dollars annually.

Now the town is burdened with sick, unemployed men and widows. One community on the edge of Chichigalpa has lost so many men that it's called La Isla de las Viudas — the Island of Widows.

Wow. Twenty thousand young men, in the prime of their lives essentially, have died from Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) in Central America? While some researchers have looked into dehydration, moon shine (alcohol abuse), and even Hantavirus causing the kidney failure, the workers believe it is caused from "the chemicals" used in the fields at the plantations.

Interestingly, this is not the only place in the world this has occurred. There has been a similar outbreak affecting sugar farmers in Sri Lanka and, in response, the Sri Lankan government banned the use of glyphosate, AKA Roundup, which is made by none other than: Monsanto.

Officials at the Ingenio San Antonio, one of the largest sugar plantations in Central America, say they also use Roundup, but researchers have yet to find a link between the illnesses and the chemical glyphosate.

Of course they haven't! It's Monsanto versus poor Nicaraguan farm laborers...Those poor guys don't stand a chance against them.

It would be pretty easy to monitor the number of men (in Sri Lanka) who develop a new onset of CKD of unknown origin, versus those who do not, since banning glyphosate in March 2014. Would it give an absolute, definitive answer as to what was/is causing these men to loose their kidney function? No, not exactly, but if the chemical was then banned in Chichigalpa and the number dropped there as well, I'd have to bet that glyphosate is to blame.

As a daughter who has watched my mom go to hemodialysis treatments three times a week for the past five years, I pray the researchers, doctors, and scientists get a handle on this. These poor people don't even have access to dialysis services or any chance for a transplant. You need your kidneys to live, without them, dialysis, or a transplant, death comes quickly. Would love to see the WHO get involved and somehow set these men up with peritoneal or hemodialysis treatments, if the Nicaraguan government is unable to do so.

NPR Article on Mysterious Kidney Disease Deaths in Central America

There was a study published in February 2014 in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health that may link glyphosate and CKD when combined with hard water. wrote an article in February that details the published study:

Study Links Monsanto's Roundup to CKD Epidemic

The researchers propose glyphosate becomes extremely toxic to the kidneys when it’s combined with “hard” water or heavy metals like arsenic and cadmium, either naturally present in the soil or added externally through the spread of fertilizer.

The new hypothesis explains a number of observations linked to the disease, including why afflicted regions like Sri Lanka have seen a strong association between the consumption of hard water and the occurrence of the kidney disease, with 96 percent of CKDu patients having drunk hard or very hard water for at least five years.

Both the article and the study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health state that glyphosate alone is not nephrotoxic, but when combined with hard water or other heavy metals in the soil, it becomes "extremely nephrotoxic".

From the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health:

The strong association of the consumption of hard water and occurrence of CKDu has been subjected to many discussions among investigators, but none of the available theories could explain this relationship coherently. Here we have explained the association by using glyphosate, the most widely used herbicide in the disease endemic area. The strong metal chelating property of glyphosate and related compounds is a well-known fact. However, the human health effects of glyphosate-metal complexes have not been given any serious consideration by investigators for last four decades.

Huge advertising campaigns by glyphosate as the best ever herbicide discovered by mankind, reiteration of the easily degradable nature of the original compound in a natural environment and the difficulties in the laboratory detection may have been the reasons for this delay. Results being produced through the current study that is ongoing in the California State University, Long Beach are highly supportive of this hypothesis. Stability of glyphosate metal complexes in various environmental conditions and nephrotoxic properties of the compound should be the subjects of further investigation.

Here's a link to the IJERPH study from February 2014: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health study.

It's not an "easy" read, especially if you don't have a grasp on basic chemistry, but there's a ton of smart people here on ATS that I think will enjoy reading it.

ETA this link to a lovely infographic from the La Isla Foundation.

From the La Isla Foundation's website:

In 2008, documentary filmmaker Jason Glaser was shooting a film about banana workers in Central America, Banana Land, when he came across the community of La Isla. La Isla La Isla de Viudas, "The Island of Widows." What Jason encountered in La Isla was so disturbing that he set aside his work on the documentary to establish La Isla Foundation. He began working with former sugarcane worker Juan Salgado, and La Isla Foundation was born.

La Isla Foundation Infographic

Seems this foundation has partnered with several universities and other non-profits to combat the issue. We need more Jason Glaser's in the world, that's for sure!

edit on 30-4-2014 by lovebeck because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 30 2014 @ 03:37 PM
Its a theory worth testing. There have been a number of cases in the intelligence agencies(and military) serving in the 80s and 90s in South and Central America of Parkinsons, or analogous symptoms, that were blamed on herbacides and insecticides especially due to the extremely high levels measured at the same say and small talk from Military Academy in 85 and acquaintances met later (2000s) suffering advanced symptoms)

I have a number of friends and family who spent years in constant contact with glyphosphate and into their 50s exhibit parkinsons type hand shaking...heres where the scientific method is needed as a number of the people I refer to, also take STATINs, Im unsure of any statin use in Central America on a large scale in 20 year olds, so ...I could be convinced to look into your hypothesis. I have added this to show the correlation to agents similar to Round Up, also to make note that is the very thing that in high saturation would certainly shut down the kidneys
edit on 30-4-2014 by BlueJacket because: (no reason given)

I suspect the levels of these agents used in Round up ready crops in 3rd world nations where we use them as slave labor and do not have regulatory agencies that speak for the common laborer would certainly have kidney deleterious effects, so much so that the kidneys shut down before the livers slow march to disease showed through marked shaking and parkinsons type symptoms.
edit on 30-4-2014 by BlueJacket because: (no reason given)

Here you go in realtion to Sri Lankan rice paddy
edit on 30-4-2014 by BlueJacket because: (no reason given)

blurb:To prove that glyphosate is the “Compound-X” that chelates with calcium and the other metals to become the causative agent of CKDu, one has to establish a clear chain of evidence. The first link in this chain is a well-established fact as shown earlier–that is, glyphosate is a strong metal chelator (for Ca, Mg, Sr, Cd, Cr, Ni, Co, Pb); It is immobilized in soil by chelating with soil cations; It persists and accumulates in soil and plants for extended periods (years)–therefore, these immobilized chelates can contaminate the water table.
edit on 30-4-2014 by BlueJacket because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 30 2014 @ 03:39 PM
Why the hell is WHO not involved already? 20,000 is not enough for them?

This just makes me ill. It also makes me wonder about the level of glyphosate being used there. Is it higher than what is allowed in other countries?

I know the results have been debated heavily here on ATS, but there have been tests done, that show liver and kidney problems with these chemicals. Other issues have been reported in South America as well.

Monsanto is getting away with murder, but very few governments want to turn off that money faucet. I guess a few human lives just really aren't worth it.

posted on Apr, 30 2014 @ 03:42 PM
a reply to: chiefsmom

You know the National Institute of Health is aware, Id say, its special interest lobbies and corrupt politicians in all developed AG countries

posted on Apr, 30 2014 @ 03:53 PM
I added a study to the OP published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health this past February that may have found a link between glyphosate and hard water being the culprit. I'm going to mosey on over to the WHO's website to see if I can find any info related to a response, etc.

posted on Apr, 30 2014 @ 03:54 PM
My bet is in monsanto, Those undeveloped countries have been the testing grounds for monsanto poisons for decades.. Sri Lanka, India and central american countries. Farmers in these very same countries where monsanto has the monopoly is now suffering.. coincidence..NO

edit on 30-4-2014 by dollukka because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 30 2014 @ 04:17 PM
Here is the inforgraphic from La Isla Foundation's website which details the differences in CKD (that has a known cause such as hypertension or diabetes) and CKDu (unknown origin of Chronic Kidney Disease). It also compares demographics and highlights the parts of the world where men are being affected with CKDu.

posted on May, 1 2014 @ 10:48 AM
a reply to: lovebeck

Turns out most modern diseases result from epigenetic effects - and this looks like another one. Epigenetic processes respond to environmental exposures and changes - and basically, control our genes - turning genes off and on, and changing the gene products after they're produced.

Current research shows that some chronic kidney disease is linked to epigenetic dysregulation via cytosine methylation. It has been known for decades that glyphosate affects DNA methylation in plants but unfortunately, focused research on glyphosate's epigenetic effects on human DNA is oddly ….lacking - probably because glyphosate was developed to replace endocrine disrupting chemicals after the damaging effects were proved.

The epigenetic lorax: gene–environment interactions in human health

Over the last decade, we have witnessed an explosion of information on genetic factors underlying common human diseases and disorders. This ‘human genomics’ information revolution has occurred as a backdrop to a rapid increase in the rates of many human disorders and diseases. For example, obesity, Type 2 diabetes, asthma, autism spectrum disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder have increased at rates that cannot be due to changes in the genetic structure of the population, and are difficult to ascribe to changes in diagnostic criteria or ascertainment. A likely cause of the increased incidence of these disorders is increased exposure to environmental factors that modify gene function. Many environmental factors that have epidemiological association with common human disorders are likely to exert their effects through epigenetic alterations. This general mechanism of gene–environment interaction poses special challenges for individuals, educators, scientists and public policy makers in defining, monitoring and mitigating exposures.

Differential effects of glyphosate and roundup on human placental cells and aromatase.

Epigenetic Changes May Explain Chronic Kidney Disease

….In a recent Genome Biology paper, Susztak, and her co-corresponding author John Greally from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY, found, in a genome-wide survey, significant differences in the pattern of chemical modifications on DNA that affect gene expression in kidney cells from patients with chronic kidney disease versus healthy controls. This is the first study to show that changes in these modifications – the cornerstone of the field of epigenetics – might explain chronic kidney disease.

Epigenetics is the science of how gene activity can be altered without actual changes in the DNA sequence. DNA can be modified by different chemical groups. In the case of this study, these are methyl groups that, like using sticky notes as reminders, open or close up regions of the genome to make these areas more or less available to be “read” as a gene.

Chronic kidney disease is a condition in which the kidneys are damaged and cannot adequately filter blood. This damage can cause wastes to build up, which leads to other health problems, including cardiovascular disease, anemia, and bone disease. More than 10% of people, or more than 20 million, aged 20 years or older in the United States have chronic kidney disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

The Epigenetic Plot Thickens

Research on DNA methylation in plants on exposure to glyphosate dates back to 1989 - no reason to assume there is no corresponding effect on human DNA.

DNA Methylation and Embryogenic Competence in Leaves and Callus of Napiergrass (Pennisetum purpureum Schum.)

Perturbations of Amino Acid Metabolism Associated with Glyphosate-Dependent Inhibition of Shikimic Acid Metabolism Affect Cellular Redox Homeostasis and Alter the Abundance of Proteins Involved in Photosynthesis and Photorespiration


edit on 1/5/14 by soficrow because: (no reason given)

new topics

top topics


log in