Melamine makes the big time: The Journal

The New England Journal of Medicine this week did a Perspective piece on Melamine. Its amazing to me how a health crisis this big has been essentially ignored up to now by the core medical journals.

The article is in depth and insightful. It suggests, as my former fellow did, that the combination of both melamine and cyanuric acid produced the latest epidemic.

The article continues the obscurity and confusion that comes from mixing parts per million and mg per kilogram.

Since there are insufficient data from humans, the WHO meeting recommended a tolerable daily intake (TDI) of 0.2 milligrams per kilogram of body weight for melamine and 1.5 milligrams per kilogram of body weight for cyanuric acid. The executive summary stated that the TDI is “applicable to the whole population, including infants.” However, exposure to both melamine and cyanuric acid may confer a higher risk, and there are unknowns about long-term renal and other risks. The current limit set by the FDA for melamine in food is 2.5 parts per million, calculated on the basis of ingestion by a person weighing 60 kg.

The article links to a report produced by the above mentioned WHO meeting. It provides exposure data from the Chinese Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

The dietary exposure based on the consumption of melamine-adulterated infant formula in China at the median levels of melamine reported in the most contaminated brand was estimated to range from 8.6 to 23.4 mg/kg body weight per day, based on data provided by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.