Melamine Found in United States Infant Formula

Melamine, the harmful chemical found in Chinese infant formula, that killed at least 3 babies and made as many as 50,000 sick, has been detected in trace amounts in infant formula sold in the United States.

The FDA says it found traces of melamine in samples of the top-selling infant formula, but the amounts found no pose no danger.  However, the FDA said just last month that they are unable to determine any level of melamine exposure that is safe. 

As a mother, I wonder how the FDA can make this statement, since scientists have said they have not had enough time to determine how the melamine could affect infant’s kidneys, and bladders, which are not fully developed. 

Melamine can bind with other chemicals in the urine, to potentially form kidney and bladder stones, and in some cases, cause kidney failure.

There have been no reports of any ill infants in the United States.  It does seem to be cause for concern though.  According to Wikipedia, melamine is described as as being “Harmful if swallowed, inhaled or absorbed through the skin. Chronic exposure may cause cancer or reproductive damage. Eye, skin and respiratory irritant.”  It is also an irritant when inhaled or in contact with the skin and the eyes. 

Wikipedia  cites a study in which “a toxicology study conducted after recalls of contaminated pet food concluded that the combination of melamine and cyanuric acid in diet does lead to acute renal failure in cats.”

Melamine has been found by the top producers of infant formula, in the United States- Abbott Laboratories, Nestle and Mead Johnson.  These three companies manufacture more than 90 percent of all infant formula produced in the United States, according to the Associated Press.  The AP says a third major formula maker told them that their in-house tests had also detected trace amount of melamine.

The AP story on this, gives examples on how melamine could have ended up in formula- one way is melamine is contained in a cleaning solution used on some food processing equipment and can leach into the products being prepared.

No matter how melamine has ended up in infant formula, it is outrageous and unacceptable.  Melamine clearly can pose a threat, to adults-not to mention babies whose organs are underdeveloped.  Not only can no one say what a “safe” level of exposure is, it appears the only safe level is none at all.  Not to mention what chronic exposure, even at a “safe” or “low level”can do long term, to a baby.

Parents who chose or have to use formula trust these companies to make sure their product is safe.  Clearly this gives parents cause for concern, and the makers of formula need to take immediate steps to assure NO amount of melamine is present in formula.

What parent would knowingly risk exposing their baby to a harmful chemical like this?  Most parents go out of their way to make sure their babies do not come in contact with harmful chemicals. Formula is not cheap, and some parents pay premium prices for it,  And yet-through no fault of their own- parents have been exposing their babies to melamine, because the formula companies they have trusted to provide safe formula, has failed them.

Take a moment and let these formula companies know how you feel about even small traces of melamine in their formula. Here is the contact information for the three biggest formula producers in the United States:

Abbot Labortories: E-mail Link: or Phone: 1-800-232-7677 (M-F 8-5, Central Time)

Nestle: E-mail Link:

Mead Johnson (Efamil): E-mail Link:  or Phone: 1-800-Baby123 M-F 7am-7pm, & 8-4:30, Saturday, Central Time

Mead Johnson World Headquarters: Phone: 1-800-429-5000, M-F 7:30-4 Central Time

Cross posted on BlogHer