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Nearly 53,000 children in China have been sickened by milk powder contaminated by an industrial chemical, the government said Monday, dramatically ramping up its previous figures.
A Hong Kong toddler also became the first child affected outside the mainland and more countries moved to bar Chinese milk products.
The scandal stems from the practice of adding industrial chemical melamine, normally used to make plastics, to watered-down milk to boost apparent protein levels.
Melamine, which causes urinary problems including kidney stones, was first discovered in baby formula and then in liquid milk, yoghurt and ice-cream, leading to mass recalls.
Some Chinese press reports have said the scam had been going on for years, with the country's chaotic and corrupt food safety system unable to detect or prevent it.
First, it was lead in Chinese made toys. Then, it was plastic in Chinese made pet food. Now, more lead is being discovered in Chinese made products, but this time it's something that goes in your mouth.
Dental products made in China, things like crowns, bridges and veneers, may contain high levels of lead. The problem is most people never know where their dental product is made and many dentists don't know either.
Faye Lewis is the first confirmed victim in the United States with lead contamination in imported dental crowns. She's from Ohio but came to Florida to speak in Tallahassee to urge state lawmakers to enact protections for dental patients.
"The teeth that were cemented into my mouth were made in a Chinese Laboratory," she said.
She also had a bridge in her mouth for 36 days. When she started having problems with it, the dentist took it out and sent it to a lab where it was discovered it had been made in China and was tainted.
"All this time toxic metals from this material in my mouth, imported from China, was eating into my body," Lewis said.
He says the Chinese prices are 80% of his and the U.S. labs using the Chinese goods aren't cutting their prices, just increasing the profits and no one's the wiser. "It's the laboratories that are sending this stuff overseas. It's the dentists that are sending it to the lab to get the work done and the labs are sending it overseas. The dentists don't know it. I would say the majority don't know," said Dimaria.
There are no laws in place to force dental labs to disclose to dentists where a product was made and what materials.
"It's very easy for you today to get something made for your mouth that is made in Taiwan or India or the Philippines or wherever and we have no idea what's in it," said Jordan.
Faye Lewis is hoping to help pushing legislation through by telling her story to anyone who will listen. "I'm just a grandmother enjoying life and I had no choice to say, 'yes or no.'" She adds, "When you find out there are toxic metals in something in your mouth feeding into your system it's alarming. It's frightening."
FDA: Poison Found in Chinese Baby Formula
The Food and Drug Administration is alerting Asian and ethnic markets across the USA that infant formula made in China may be contaminated with the same poison as found in poison pet food, last year.
LATEST: More than 1,200 babies sickened
Chinese newspapers report that some infant formula has been linked to kidney problems and kidney stones in babies in China because the formula contains melamine — the same industrial contaminant from China that poisoned and killed thousands of U.S. dogs and cats last year.
In addition, no U.S. manufacturers or marketers of infant formula receive ingredients from China. "We contacted all of them," Oliver says.
The FDA is concerned that illegal infant formula may be sold in Asian and ethnic markets. It happened in 2004, when fake formula from China, which killed dozens of babies there, was found in at least one U.S. store. "None of this should be in the United States. We're not aware of anyone finding it here, but knowing that it happened once before, we want to get the word out," Oliver says.
Melamine, a byproduct of plastic manufacturing, can be used to mimic high-protein additives.
In March 2007, the discovery that pet food was causing kidney disease and death in dogs and cats across North America led to the largest pet food recall in U.S. history. Melamine and a related chemical, cyanuric acid, had been added to grain products in China to fraudulently increase their apparent protein content, making them appear to be gluten. The products were sold as gluten to U.S. and Canadian pet food manufacturers.
Veterinary pathologists established that the combination of melamine and cyanuric acid caused crystals to form in the urinary tracts of animals.
ADA NEWS: LEAD?... NO PROBLEM.
CDC says lead levels reported in dental crown are a “highly unlikely” health risk to adults
Posted April 25, 2008
By Arlene Furlong
When news of lead contamination in an outsourced dental crown hit the presses in late February, the ADA called on the nation's leading health agencies to address safety concerns raised by the reports. Association leaders are gratified by their responses.
The CDC explained that the level of lead reported in the crown in the media reports —approximately 200 parts per million—is "highly unlikely" to be a health risk to an adult.
"Such small amounts of lead as reported, are extremely unlikely to cause adverse health effects in adults," the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told the ADA in its response. "Given the current information, CDC does not recommend that individuals defer needed oral procedures or have existing prostheses removed."
That said, the CDC noted that it recommends against the unnecessary use of lead in consumer products, including dental crowns.
"I'm relieved that the CDC sees no threat to patients based upon the trace amount of lead reported," said ADA President Mark Feldman. "We are still conducting our own test of dental prostheses and are gratified that CDC has offered to interpret any health impact of the results".