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Friday, 12 August 2011

Devivaru Arsenic and Science V

Dr. Upali Samarajeewa in his article on 27th July expresses the view that the Kelaniya group that is on a “great mission to prove” that the Rajarata Kidney Disease is “due to exposure of humans to Arsenic” “start by attacking views of all other scientists examining the possible origins of the disease”. He claims that then we “create fear among the public with a story of high concentrations of arsenic in rice and water”. He admits that we presented our case at a seminar of the Ministry of Irrigation and Water Management in March 2011, which according to him was “later released to a local science tabloid.” Then according to his script “the story expands next to pesticides (conveniently forgetting their (Kelaniya group’s) earlier claims of high concentrations of arsenic in rice and water) and later takes a different turn that arsenic is added to pesticides at various points in the distribution chain, when they find that their arguments do not hold any more in the light of test reports coming out from an internationally accredited laboratory.” He further states that “manipulating their own data to suit the occasions has become a feature of these scientists”.

I must inform Dr. Samarajeewa that we are certainly not on a mission great or otherwise as we are not missionaries of any faith or belief, unlike the great scientists in Sri Lanka who are no more than glorified technicians not having introduced any concept theory or idea, who follow some procedures (some of which are called process by Prof. Carlo Fonseka), and who are on a mission on behalf of the western Christian science. Dr. Samarajeewa like all missionaries wants to attack the others while blaming the others for attacking him and the other missionaries. If he is not attacking our views what is he doing writing all these articles to the newspapers? I have no objections when he attacks us as we not being missionaries who follow Budun Vahanse would tolerate any opposing views.

We have reasons to believe (all the so called theories including Newton’s gravitational theory are nothing but beliefs or stories at best) that Rajarata Kidney Disease is caused by Arsenic through Calcium Arsenate that dissolves in water at certain temperatures at certain acidic levels indicated by the pH values. We have not deviated from this story and we have not dropped our claim that Arsenic is present in rice and water. In fact if Arsenic is not present in water in some form there is no possibility of Arsenic causing the Rajarata Kidney disease according to our script? (Please remember that Newton wrote his script on gravitation in the seventeenth century). In our script Arsenic goes into the system through drinking water that has a content of Calcium Arsenate.

We have not attempted to create fear among the public by claiming a high concentration of Arsenic in rice and water but only attempted to make them aware of the conditions. As I have repeatedly said the presence of Arsenic in rice had been known to great scientists such as Prof. Ranjith Jayasekera the cadre Senior Professor of Botany at the University of Kelaniya since 2004 or so and we were the fourth group to find Arsenic in rice. However, as we have said rice was not our main concern as we were interested in Rajarata Kidney Disease that was not caused by rice. People have been aware of the presence of “vasa visa” (poison) in pesticides and also in what we eat because of the use of pesticides in agriculture for sometime and our disclosure was not a surprise to most of them. In fact some have been engaged in other forms of agriculture such as organic farming in order to avoid poisonous substances for more than at least two decades. Al that we did was to identify Arsenic as one of the poisonous substances in the pesticides.

It was not only Arsenic that we had identified in pesticides but Mercury as well. We have announced this at various seminars and at least one other laboratory has reported on the presence of Mercury in pesticides. In fact the Devivaru had indicated the presence of other toxic matter in the pesticides, which will be disclosed in the near future. Dr. Samarajeewa makes a lame effort to accuse us of changing our claims when according to him our data are shown to be invalid by an internationally accredited laboratory. We have never done so and we must say that internationally accredited laboratories are in now confirming our results though the scientists of the caliber of Dr. Samarajeewa may not be aware of the latest developments.

We have not claimed that Arsenic or any toxic matter is added to pesticides at one or many points in the distribution chain but if the manufacturers of the pesticides claim that what they had exported are free of toxic matter and if we believe them, then Arsenic and other toxic matter have to be added somewhere along the line from the point of export to the point of distribution to the retail traders. It is also possible that the exporters are not telling the truth and that they export pesticides with one or many toxic substances. In this regard I wish to quote the following from the 3rd June 2009 issue of “Daily Nation” published in Kenya.

‘The Kenya Bureau of standards (Kebs) said the entire 20,000 tonnes of DAP fertilizer from the United States contained “very high” levels of poisonous elements – arsenic and cadmium. The agency said these would manifest themselves in crops if the fertilizer was used. On Wednesday, a Kenya Navy ship was said to be patrolling the area, with officers under strict instructions to keep vigilance and ensure the vessel carrying the fertilizer sails back.’

Of course this has happened two years ago in Kenya soon after the LTTE was defeated in Sri Lanka. It may be that we did not have time to look into the problems created by the importers of agrochemicals during the time LTTE was in action with the aid of self same westerners who export these chemicals to the Asian and African countries. Unfortunately the Afro Asian countries are not only in disarray but are dominated by western thinking and knowledge including western science and they can hardly do anything about dumping of toxic matter in the form of agrochemicals by the westerners. We are in a tricky situation as the westerners who export agrochemical with poisonous matter could ban our agricultural exports to them claiming that they contain toxic matter. The only way forward is to develop our own methods without depending on the so called scientific agriculture using agrochemicals produced in the west and the “Arsenic studies” group at Kelaniya is concerned with developing “Sinhala govikama” and of course our own science.

It is in this regard we have deliberately deviated from so called scientific process and obtained help from Devivaru who have instructed on “govikama” as well. It is not organic farming that we practice and the Science Faculty at the University of Kelaniya has already finished with four “kannas” on an experimental level in a paddy field near Kadawatha.

We have already divulged our methods to ITI and we are now testing in collaboration with them for Arsenic in pesticides.

Copyright Prof. Nalin De Silva