Occupational Paraquat and Glyphosate Exposure May Decline Renal Functions among Rural Farming Communities in Sri Lanka.
Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Mar 22 ;18(6). Epub 2021 Mar 22. PMID: 33810013
K S M Abdul
Extensive use of herbicides is common among rural agricultural workers in Sri Lanka. Recent studies have postulated their role in the development of chronic kidney disease of unknown etiology (CKDu). Paraquat and glyphosate are leading herbicides used by sugarcane farmers (SF), hence occupational exposure is inevitable. This study examined the expression of urinary paraquat, glyphosate and biomarkers among residential SF in CKDu emerging regions, Warunagama (WA) and Rahathangama (RH), in the Uva Province with non-endemic Matara (MA) in the Southern Province of Sri Lanka. Urinary glyphosate, Paraquat, kidney injury molecule -1 (KIM-1), neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL) andβ2-microglobulin (B2M) were determined using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA). Urinary creatinine, microalbumin, serum creatinine (SCr), serum cystatin C, estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), and albumin creatinine ratio (ACR) were also assessed. Generally, herbicide residues andkidney injury biomarkers were higher in SF compared to the non-endemic MA. Creatinine-adjusted urinary glyphosate and paraquat levels were significantly higher in WA compared to MA. ACR in RH (median 14.9; IQR 5.4-393.1 mg/g) and WA (23.7; 11.5-64.6) was significantly higher than MA (4.3; 2.2-6.7).This study reports 39 individuals with impaired kidney function among SF in Sri Lanka for the first time. Urinary NGAL levels were significantly higher in both WA (median 2.14; IQR 1.28-6.15 ng/mg Cr) and RH (3.09; 1.15-9.09) compared to MA (1.28; 0.56-2.81). However, urinary KIM-1 levels in RH (3.2; 1.29-106.1 ng/g Cr) and WA (3.6; 1.94-115.1) were not significantly higher in MA (1.74; 0.76-116.9). Urinary NGAL (r = 0.493), eGFR (r = -0.147) and ACR (r = 0.171) significantly correlated with urinary glyphosate, but not with urinary paraquat levels. Urinary KIM-1 levels did not correlate with either urinary glyphosate or paraquat, while urinary B2M and serum cystatin C levels showed significant correlation with urinary glyphosate levels. The current study reports higher urinary herbicide levels among sugarcane farmers in WA and RH, and that is potentially linked to the subsequent declinein kidney function, as indicated by ACR, eGFR, and NGAL. We posit that these indicators may serve as markers to detect renal injury among herbicide-exposed SF in Rural Sri Lanka.