Arsenic and Stupid Patriots


It was Nalin de Silva who started it, and because of what he did, people will continue to die, and those dumb patriots who believe every word he utters will call it an international conspiracy and put the blame on multinational companies and the poor Agricultural Minister.

What was earlier a genuine effort to find the reason for the kidney disease that rapidly spread in the North Central Province, has now become a misleading, unbelievable dumb, yet absolutely dangerous debate about whether or not there’s arsenic in rice. The Agriculcural Minister says there’s no arsenic (or very insignificant amount) in rice, and the dumb patriots say there’s loads of arsenic in rice.

This whole debate is misleading because whether or not there’s arsenic in rice, it could have absolutely no connection to the kidney diseases that spread rapidly in the North Central Province. Initially the claim made by the researchers who were supposedly guided by a god was that the concentration of arsenic in water in that area was too high. Obviously, if anyone affliated to a repuatable university claims his research was done by a god needs to be fired and immediately sent to a mental hospital. But that’s not really important here. If there really is too much arsenic in water, it is a problem that needs to be properly addressed. The research group (which was supposedly guided by a god) has to publish their research papers so that others can repeat it and verify its findings. Instead they are debating whether there’s arsenic in rice. Rice and kidney diseases, are these guys mad? The relevant authorities need to remember that this kidney disease is actually killing people.

This debate is unbelievably dumb because there shouldn’t be a debate in the first place. If there’s a suspicion that there’s arsenic in rice, then there’s a scientific procedure to follow which in the end will tell you the answer with 100% accuracy. Western Science, no matter what Nalin de Silva says, works. This matter would’ve been solved by now if Nalin didn’t popularise the idea that it was a god who informed us about the arsenic. Now people will die because of him.

I don’t know however why should anyone think that there’s arsenic in rice. Only the people in the North Central Province are dying of this kidney disease, and they eat the same rice as people in other areas do. If the arsenic is in the water, that’s different.

Whatever the case is, these patriotic idiots should stop blaming multinational companies and economic assassins (a term popularised by a stupid presenter on Derana TV) and get some truly Western scientific experiments done, and act accordingly. Meanwhile, people are dying.


6 Responses to “Arsenic and Stupid Patriots”

  1. uditha Says:

    It is well-known that the ring shape of the benzene molecule is discovered after having a reverie or day-dream of a snake seizing its own tail. Have you ever thought that the inventor needs to be sent to a mental hospital because his discoveries are followed by a dream? If the result is confirmed no matter how the idea is came, whether it is a dream or a god, whats the point rejecting it?

    The team is currently going to apply for a patent for their new method of discovering Arsenic in hard-water, so I hope you will get answers to most of the questions you have.

    Indeed, they haven’t emphasized that the kidney decease is due to rice. They just said that they also tested rice for arsenic, and they found some considerable amount. The real reason as they mentioned causing the kidney decease is due to the presence in arsenic in hard water in a form which is toxic to human. Please find out what they have really said before saying anything.

    I can understand your love towards multinational companies and how much you hate sinhala-Buddhists. But I really can’t understand how a group who is dying to find a cure to the kidney disease is responsible for their death. If you don’t know, please find out how the same team lead by prof. Nalin de silva is curing people with traditional sinhaleses “nila wedakama” in padavi-sripura hospital

  2. pathum weerawarna Says:

    Prof. Nalin de Silva has not used a validated and accepted method for his research. According to him, they have used a in-house developed method. Development and validation of analytical method is not an easy task. It can not be done using 50 samples or something near that. I don’t know whether he has used this method only for water or both water and plants (rice). Most of the time, researches apply already developed and validated methods in their research work to obtain results, if they are going to correlate those results with some other observations. If they are going to use in house developed quantification methods, first of all they have to validate them. Method validation is also not an easy task. They should conduct an internal validation and external validation for the method in order to check the validity of the developed method. Internal validation parameters include parameters such as Linearity, Repeatability, Recovery, Robustness, Limit of Detection (LOD) and Limit of Quantification (LOQ) so on. To take these parameters, large number of spiked samples at different concentration levels as well as blank samples should be analyzed using that method. External validation is the most important part. For that they should participate in Proficiency Testing (PT) program organized by an accredited body. In the proficiency testing program, same sample (spike level of the analyte is only known by the accredited body) will distribute among the participants and ask to quantify the corresponding analyte present in the sample using their methods. Then the results obtained by different laboratories using different methods will statistically analyze and issue a report mentioning that which laboratories are within the accepted limit. If a laboratory is in the accepted limit, the method used by that laboratory can be considered as externally validated. Such proficiency testing program for powdered rice is available at FAPAS and analytes are Arsenic (inorganic), Arsenic (total) and Cadmium. So I think prof. Nalin de Silva will definitely participate in such proficiency testing program and tell us the validity of his method. Publication of the results in a peer reviewed journal will not be a reason in order to accept a new analytical method. For that it must be validated internally and externally. Specially, external validation via PT program is the most important thing as the results taken by the new method will be compared with other validated and accredited methods. I thought to write this small comment, because of the results published by ITI after analyzing rice samples using Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy (AAS) contradicted with the result published by Prof. Nalin de Silva. If he claims that AAS (traditional method) can not be used due to interferences by matrix he can go to Inductive Couple Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS) and compare the results. This instrument is available in Sri Lanka. I know that Prof. Nalin de Silva is a great mathematician. But by looking at the things he is claiming, I can say that he is not a great analytical chemist. You can not develop methods like this and take critical decisions by using those methods. I believe that Prof. Nalin’s method will give a certain value for Arsenic in rice. If another person uses that method, same value may obtain. But in-order to make sure that the value is the correct value, you must participate in proficiency testing program and should compare your result with other methods.

  3. lokar Says:

    Have you ever heard of Sirinivas Ramanujan, a name celebrated to such an extent, for example:
    When G.H Hardy gave him a series to find the limit, Ramanujan would just tell the answer…
    No proof…
    How???? (how does he ever know even if the series converges)
    Have you ever heard what he said when he was asked how he do that???

  4. DSM Says:

    Dear readers,

    Basically pesticides are manufactured from petroleum products and they are organic compounds. Arsenic is an inorganic compound. Therefore possibility of Arsenic presence in agrochemicals should be very minimal. Generally the agro chemicals are tested in world recognized laboratories and the Registrar of pesticides in Sri Lanka is responsible for the quality of the product. Furthermore Agrochemicals manufacturers are not producing it only for Sri Lanka. The usage in other countries like India Europe USA is very high compared to Sri Lanka. Do you think that they do not test for Arsenic in those countries? They also test and if found they band it before us.

    How about Fertilizer. Fertilizers are just a scrape from the soil and no refining process is taken. It is just imported and distributed for the farmers. Is the Fertilizer Secretariat Sri Lanka is testing for Arsenic in Fertilizer or get a Laboratory report of the product that saying it is not containing Arsenic. There is a considerable possibility to contamination of Arsenic to fertilizer as it is an inorganic. Before come to a conclusion that Arsenic is added to soil though agrochemicals Profer Nalin de Silva should have tested fertilizers for Arsenic. Thanks.

  5. dil Says:

    This type of comments made by Nalin insults the Buddhism and the Great scientist who deserved their lives for the life of people.

  6. Priyanthi Wickramasuriya Says:

    What Professor Nalin de Silva says in his weekly column in the Sinhalese Sunday paper “Irida Divaina” is that his group has found arsenic in a form harmful to man in the water that Raja-Rata peasants drank (coming apparently from certain kinds of imported insecticides), but not in rice itself as such. And as every chemist and biologist should know is that arsenic in man, accumulates over time, lethal in the long term, whether or not causing kidney problems at present. And though not a doctor, might I hazard a guess? Namely that in Arsenic poisoning, it is the kidneys that suffer most as well as at being first.

    Finally, there is no evidence as at present (garnered from papers, down the grapevine or in any other way I know at present) that Sri Lankans have stopped eating Rice! And not only Nalin at that!

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