Sri Lanka kidney Disease Blamed on farm chemicals
By Rhitu Chatterjee
September 18th, 2012
There are thousands of people who reside in the North central province of Sri Lanka that are suffering with chronic Kidney disease. About 15% of the population was effect most of them being rice farmers. The disease first came into play about 20 years ago in a hospital located in Anuradhapura the capital of Province. Doctors began putting two and two together and realized that too many were dying from kidney Failure. None of which suffered from diabetes or high blood pressure, the diseases that would typically lead to severe kidney failure. The doctors during this time also realized that this kidney problem was not happening to people in the rest of the country. To separate this particular illness from the normal kidney failure, the Sri Lankan government gave it the name Chronic Kidney disease. Meaning unknown and CKDu for short, Dr Dassanayake one the Kidney doctors says that there is still no specific treatment for the chronic kidney disease.
About four years ago with help from the World Health organization and the Sri Lanka government an investigation on this matter was put into place. Peoples blood, urine and food specimens were tested in the area, in addition to the areas local food and water. The results indicated that there were two toxic metals Cadmium and arsenic that were in the food and the air, although the levels were within reasonable range. Mahipala an official with the Sri Lankan Ministry of Health says that continued exposure to these chemicals at those levels can be very harmful. Arsenic is the active ingredient in some pesticides and Cadmium is found in some fertilizers. These specific findings have not be published but according to the (WHO) World Health Organization, they will be published in the coming months once the minor details are finalized. Many scientists believe that more research needs to be done and that those specific chemicals are not to blame for CKDu. Even after hearing the results rice farmers are still reluctant to listen. They say that they will still use the same fertilizers on their crops and continue with their same manner of farming. The failure to publicize the true nature of these chemicals and the effect they are having on the farmers is making many doctors really unhappy.