This fall, no news-reading mother missed the stories on the death toll for babies in China who drank formula tainted with dangerous levels of melamine. Those poor babies, we all thought, living in a country that just doesn’t care about what they give their children. Thank God we don’t live there.
If that was how you felt, you might be interested to read today’s AP report that the FDA has set a US standardfor melamine in our own baby formula. And apparently, a little teeny tiny bit of melamine is fine. As long as there is absolutely, positively, no cyanuric acid.
Let’s review. Melamine, according to wisegeek.com, is a fire-resistant synthetic polymer, useful in making Formica, upholstery, dishwasher-safe plastic, and firemen’s uniforms. Cyanuric acid, according to wikipedia.com, is an odorless chemical compound used in bleaches, disinfectants, and swimming pools. And either one of these things is an acceptable component in our children’s formula. Just not BOTH TOGETHER, that’d be gross.
Why do we accept this? Why do we let our government feed us the nonsensical assertion that ANY amount of this stuff is safe? And get this: the three major US formula makers have admitted that they all have one or the other of these paint strippers in their products. Just not both. Gee, thanks, now I can sleep at night.
On October 3rd, the FDA released this statement: “FDA is currently unable to establish any level of melamine and melamine-related compounds in infant formula that does not raise public health concerns.”
What has changed since then? What has made these chemicals even somewhat acceptable? And here’s my main question, which I cannot seem to find an answer to, through the FDA or anywhere else: Why are these toxic chemicals necessary components of baby formula in the first place? Couldn’t they try some good old-fashioned partially hydrogenated coconut oil instead?