Renewable Farming

New evidence accumulates on glyphosate’s role in kidney disease

From 2002 to 2005, an epidemic of Chronic kidney disease of “unknown origin” became El Salvador’s leading cause of death in adults. 

March 2, 2018 — The disease impacted primarily men, aged 25 to 59, who worked in sugar cane fields. In those years, use of  glyphosate became widely sprayed on cane fields four to five weeks before harvest for what became called a “ripener.” The glyphosate chelates or locks up essential micronutrients in the cane, blocking the cane from sprouting new tillers as it approaches maturity. For about five weeks, the chelation effect from glyphosate preserves plant sugars and other photosynthates which would normally flow to unharvestable young tillers. After harvest, the cane roots gradually restore minerals from the soil, and tiller growth resumes for the next crop. Dr. Don Huber and other researchers have recommended other means of accomplishing high sugar content without glyphosate, using beneficial trace minerals and inhibition of gibberellin. (Glyphosate is also approved as a chemical “ripener” in the U.S.)

Health professionals in El Salvador wrote a research paper titled, “Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown Etiology Should Be Renamed Chronic Agrochemical Nephropathy.”  A 2014 survey of patients with the kidney disease found that 89% of them were farmers and 96% had contact with agrochemicals.  

A similar link between glyphosate and kidney disease was found in Sri Lanka, which banned glyphosate after this data was known. 

Dr. Stephanie Seneff

Now, two U.S. researchers have published scientific papers tracing the logical metabolic pathways between glyphosate and kidney breakdown. Authors are Stephanie Seneff, Senior Research Scientist at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at MIT, and Laura F. Orlando, environmental health scientist at the Boston University School of Public Health. Their data was primarily extracted from laboratory and medical studies which looked at varied pieces of the kidney disease puzzle.

Here are the links to those articles on our server. They’re in JPEG picture format, and should readily open on most browsers.

Is Glyphosate a Key Factor in Mesoamerican Nephropathy?

Glyphosate Substitution for Glycine During Protein Synthesis as a Causal Factor in Mesoamerican Nephropathy

Earlier, independent researcher Anthony Samsel documented similar evidence, as we’ve reported on this site. 

A key connection between glyphosate and kidney disease found by lab and clinical analysis is essentially this: Glyphosate substitutes for glycine in protein formation. This distorts downstream metabolic processes, triggering a chain of human health disorders. In a summary, the researchers say:

“We identify several pathologies associated with Mesoamerican (Central American) nephropathy (MeN)  that have been found to be implicated in papers on glyphosate exposure, such as enhancing the growth of Clostridia species and fungus, promoting arsenic toxicity, suppressing the synthesis of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), disrupting fructose metabolism, and promoting dehydration and high serum urate. A companion paper explains how glyphosate’s substitution for glycine could cause additional renal damage. Together, these two papers strongly suggest that glyphosate is a causative agent in chronic kidney disease of unknown origin (CKDu). Overall, the research literature provides compelling evidence that glyphosate exposure is a significant factor in MeN. Glyphosate usage on crops should be curtailed in order to protect the agricultural worker population from this devastating and life-threatening disease.”

We’re part of an e-mail group with scientists who follow research with GMOs, glyphosate and other health issues. One response to the new papers above came today in an e-mail from Dr. Don Huber, who has researched these issues extensively. For several years, he has pointed to an alternative to spraying glyphosate on sugarcane and avoiding such health threats. Here it is, slightly edited:

“Use means of inhibiting gibberellin production (birth control rather than abortion). Or better, the approach of Dr. Korndorfer’s in Brazil and ours in Guatemala using a nutrient approach with boron, molybdenum and manganese, magnesium to physiologicaly shunt photosynthate into sugar production and senescence where we can INCREASE refined sugar yield by up to two ton per hectare AND benefit the ratoon crop by leaving all the necessary minerals for growth available after harvest rather than chelated/immobilized by glyphosate.  ALSO THERE’S NO RESIDUAL GLYPHOSATE!  We published this last September at the International Plant Nutrition Conference in Copenhagen.

“Also, within two weeks after glyphosate is applied, most of the mycorrhizal fungi on the cane are killed. These organisms are needed for mineral uptake from soil. Also, soil manganese oxidizing organisms have formed a non-nutrient available sheath of oxidized manganese (birnesite) along the roots. The roots are attacked by Marasmius and other soil fungi that have become pathogenic as a result of glyphosate shutting down the plant’s defense mechanism. Glyphosate just gives the plant a bad case of ‘AIDS’!”

These findings reaffirm our earlier observations that our government safety regulators have failed to demand or provide the in-depth, unbiased research needed to identify the complex and long-term threats of ag chemicals. Especially those chemicals where major corporate dollars are at stake. As usual, individuals with intellect and courage are extracting the truth.