An unknown medical condition has been killing agricultural workers in northern Sri Lanka. The illness is officially described as a 'Chronic Kidney Disease of non-Traditional causes (CKDnT)'.
Patients with CKDnT do not have the commonly known risk factors for kidney disease, such as diabetes and hypertension. Which means that another etiology must be at work here. While northern Sri Lanka is 'blessed' with a hot climate, agricultural workers are not alike the sugar cane workers in Mesoamerica. Chronic dehydration does result in kidney problems and eventually to renal failure.
Organic or natural fertilizers, such as manure, compost or paddy husk, all contained very low amounts of arsenic. Despite the fact that the import of arsenic containing pesticides is illegal, all tested pesticide brands contained arsenic. There is evidence of a positive association between arsenic exposure and kidney disease mortality. This special type of chronic kidney disease is a toxic nephropathy and arsenic may play a causative role along with a number of other heavy metals. Findings suggest that agrochemicals, especially phosphate fertilizers, are a major source of inorganic arsenic in CKDnT endemic areas in Sri Lanka.
hard water or nephrotoxic metals. It might even explain similar kidney disease epidemics observed in Andra Pradesh (India) and Central America.
Much more information about Chronic Kidney Diseases of non-Traditional (CKDnT) causes can be found here.
 Jayasumana et al: Phosphate fertilizer is a main source of arsenic in areas affected with chronic kidney disease of unknown etiology in Sri Lanka in SpringerPlus - 2015
 Zheng et al: Arsenic and Chronic Kidney Disease: A Systematic Review in Current Environmental Health Reports – 2014
 Jayasumana et al: Glyphosate, Hard Water and Nephrotoxic Metals: Are They the Culprits Behind the Epidemic of Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown Etiology in Sri Lanka? in International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health – 2014