Glyphosate and kidney disease - emerging details

April 2015

The suspicion that glyphosate herbicide is a critical contributor to the epidemic of Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown Aetiology (CKDu), in certain agricultural areas in the world [1] has now been further investigated and the findings published.
These reinforce the previous theory that CKDu is linked to a combination of drinking-water contaminated with heavy metals and the spraying of glyphosate (active ingredient of Roundup formula heavily used on GM crops).

Male farmers, who can spend hours a day manually spraying glyphosate with little or no protective equipment, have a 3-fold greater risk of CKDu.

Disturbingly, over the last six years the average age of patients presenting with CKDu has fallen by eleven years for males and by seven years for females. This suggests the disease is progressive in nature and that there could be a cumulative toxic effect involved in the disease process.

Due to the high mortality rate of CKDu, patients tended to die before they could be recruited to the study. This could mean that the data available for collection were biased towards samples with a weaker connection to the causative factors.


CKDu highlights all the flaws inherent in relying on post-market monitoring of chemicals or GMOs to assure safety:
  • It's haphazard because unexpected effects won't be recorded until or unless they're recognised, and might be missed altogether
  • It's limited to unexpected reactions which are so unique or extreme that they stand out from the background hubbub of diseases and pollutants.
  • If the end-point is death, the connection may be missed because those affected keep dying before you can find out what they've been doing before their disease set in.
Tell the regulators that pre-market laboratory testing needs to be much more sophisticated if we plan to expose ourselves to so many toxins and novel foods all at once, and survive.


  • Channa Jayasumana, el al., 2015, Drinking well water and occupational exposure to herbicides is associated with chronic kidney disease, in Padavi-Sripura, Sri Lanka, Environmental Health 14:6

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