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Saturday, June 6, 2009

Pesticide may seed American infant ........


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via www.TruthRing.org by Zlaya on 6/4/09

by Janet Raloff

Infant formulas purchased from stores in Canada show widespread tainting with traces of melamine, a toxic constituent of plastics and other materials. In China, the fraudulent use of melamine as a protein replacement in infant formulas resulted in the poisoning of more than 1,200 babies last year, six of whom died. Canada's widespread contamination, however, appears unintentional and to stem from a very different source.

Chemists with Health Canada in Ottawa report they have yet to identify the source of the pollutant they've just turned up in 71 of 94 samples of infant formula. In a report of their findings, however, just published online ahead of print in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Sheryl Tittlemier and her colleagues do finger one key suspect: the insecticide cyromazine. It's legal for use on food crops and animal forage — and melamine is one of its breakdown products.

"In all instances in which melamine was detected, concentrations observed were below the standard of 0.5 micrograms per gram set by Health Canada for infant formula," the researchers note. Indeed, levels ranged from 4 to 346 nanograms per gram (or parts per billion) of assayed formula. Based on the concentration present in even the most contaminated product, Tittlemier's group calculates that a baby's likely intake of the kidney-toxic chemical would only come to about 1 percent of the allowable intake.

The peak tainting found, 346 ppb, is in the same ballpark that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reported finding in a single domestic infant formula — one of 74 samples it tested last year. In November, Stephen Sundlof, director of FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, noted that at such concentrations U.S. infant formulas are "safe" for continued use as a sole source of nutrition for babies.

The real question is how melamine has been making its way into North American infant formulas. At a press briefing last fall, Sundlof posited that it might be from melamine-based plasticware or food packaging. He noted that some foodware and plastic-laminate counter materials are made from melamine, which studies have shown can leach into foods.

Full article here…


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