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Monsanto’s ‘Roundup’ weedkiller may be causing kidney failure in farmworkers: study

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Researchers looking into the cause of a chronic kidney disease epidemic which has devastated farm-workers in Central America, India and Sri Lanka may have found their culprit in a commonly-used herbicide manufactured by Monsanto, according to Truthout.

According to a study conducted by three Sri Lankan scientists, glyphosate, an ingredient used in herbicide Roundup may be behind a disease known as CKDu;  Chronic Kidney Disease. The ‘u’ in the name indicates a variation from other chronic kidney diseases where the cause is known.

CKDu is now the second leading cause of death among men in El Salvador, a small country with the highest overall mortality rate from kidney disease in the world. In neighboring El Salvador and Nicaragua, more men die from CKDu than from HIV/AIDS, diabetes, and leukemia combined.

In one area of rural Nicaragua, so many men have died that the community is called “The Island of the Widows.”

In Sri Lanka, over 20,000 people have died from CKDu in the past two decades, leading the researchers to match the time frame to the introduction of new herbicides into the region.

Dr. Channa Jayasumana, and his colleagues, Dr. Sarath Gunatilake and Dr. Priyantha Senanayake, have put forward a unifying hypothesis attempting to explain the origin of the disease, asserting that the offending agent had to have been introduced into Sri Lanka within the last 30 years, lining up with the appearance of the first CKDu cases appearing in the mid-1990s.

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Looking for likely suspects, the researchers repeatedly came back to glyphosate, a herbicide used in abundance in Sri Lanka.

Earlier studies had shown that once glyphosate binds with metals, the glyphosate-metal complex can last for decades in the soil. A glyphosate-heavy metal complex can enter the human body in a variety of ways, including ingestion, inhalation or absorption through the skin. Avoiding detection by the liver, the glyphosate-heavy metal complex reaches the kidney tubules, where cadmium or arsenic that has bonded to the glyphosate can damage the kidney tubules and other parts of the kidneys, resulting in kidney failure and, often, death.

At this point the Sri Lankan scientist’s theory can only be considered hypothesis-generating and further scientific studies will need to confirm the hypothesis that CKDu is indeed due to glyphosate-heavy metal toxicity to kidneys.

Monsanto, continues to back the safety and usage of glyphosate which is the world’s largest selling herbicide.

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It should be noted that most of Monsanto’s genetically modified seeds, including soy, corn, canola, alfalfa, cotton, sugar beets and sorghum, are glyphosate resistant.

[Farmer spraying pesticide on Shutterstock]

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NRA owes $1.6 million in unpaid bills to vendor who runs NRATV

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The National Rifle Association has a hefty bill that remains unpaid, despite making a huge haul in fundraising for the 2016 election.

According to Betsy Woodruff at the Daily Beast, the NRA owes $1.6 million to their vendor, Ackerman McQueen, they've used for advertising for years. The company is the one responsible for doing the media for NRATV, the group's streaming service for pro-gun television.

The two have had a long relationship and err on the side of quiet privacy, which Woodruff said on MSNBC, shows just how acrimonious the battle has become.

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2020 Election

Michael Moore warns that Trump will be hard to beat: ‘He hasn’t lost one inch of his fired-up insane base’

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Left-wing filmmaker Michael Moore thinks that Democrats had better get ready for a very tough fight in the 2020 presidential election.

Even though polls continue to show that President Donald Trump is historically unpopular, Moore believes that the president's base is fired up to reelect him and will crawl over glass to vote for him again next year.

In particular, Moore was struck by the massive enthusiasm that greeted the president at his big kickoff rally in Orlando, Florida.

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Canada is taking advantage of Trump’s tariff pratfalls by scooping up new trade partners: report

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As American manufacturers reel and U.S. farmers see their economic well-being being destroyed by Donald Trump's trade wars, the Canadian government is stepping into the breach and boosting their own trade relations, reports Politico.

As part of their Global Translations podcast, Politico notes that countries -- and manufacturers -- are not standing by helplessly as Trump threatens and changes directions on trade on almost a daily basis.

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