Phosphate FertilizerAccording to a recent study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, glyphosate may carry heavy metals and minerals, whether naturally-occurring or originating from agricultural chemicals, into your kidneys, courtesy of its chelating properties.

A unique feature of this kidney disease (chronic kidney disease of unknown etiology/CKDu) is that none of the commonly known risk factors apply, such as diabetes or hypertension, but there’s a strong association between this mysterious kidney disease and consumption of hard water, i.e. water that contains higher amounts of calcium, magnesium, strontium, and iron.

Ninety-six percent of patients with chronic kidney disease of unknown etiology had consumed hard or very hard water for at least five years. Meanwhile, the disease is not found among those who get their drinking water straight from natural springs. Kidney toxicity is not known to be associated with hard water consumption, and this surprising finding added to the initial mystery. Furthermore, the disease seemed to have cropped out of nowhere. There were no reported cases of this kind of kidney disease in Sri Lanka prior to the 1990s.

The researchers note that the original use of glyphosate was as a de-scaling agent, used to clean out calcium and other mineral deposits in hot water systems. De-scaling agents attach to minerals such as calcium and magnesium, rendering them water soluble. According to the authors:

“[T]he totality of scientific evidence gathered so far has highlighted the fact that an unknown factor (Compound X) originating from agrochemicals, when combined with hardness/Ca/Mg can cause significant kidney damage; thus explaining many current observations including the unique geographical distribution of the disease.

If we assume that the ‘Compound X’ is derived from the agrochemicals and is easily bound to Ca/Mg/Sr/Fe to ultimately cause damage to the kidneys, then this hypothesis can explain the geographical distribution of chronic kidney disease of unknown etiology (CKDu) as well as the occurrence of the disease only after the 1990s…

Although glyphosate alone does not cause an epidemic of chronic kidney disease, it seems to have acquired the ability to destroy the renal tissues of thousands of farmers when it forms complexes with a localized geo-environmental factor (hardness) and nephrotoxic metals.”

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