Saturday 14 February 2009

What is Melamine?

What is melamine? - the answer concerns people who keep cats and many millions of other concerned people. The story is shocking. Melamine is an industrial chemical that is used in the manufacture of a variety of products such as "melawares" (a kind of plastic plate etc. to me and you) and kitchen cabinets etc. These are a far cry from food! It is simply not meant to be eaten. Despite that, there seemed to have been a long standing culture of adding it to livestock feed in China to boost perceived protein levels. I can remember many years ago people talking about melamine in relation to kitchens as it creates a hard washable surface.

melamine products

To quote Wikipedia (which I am allowed to do as their work is released for publication under creative commons):

Melamine is combined with formaldehyde to produce melamine resin, a very durable thermosetting plastic used in Formica, and melamine foam, a polymeric cleaning product. The end products include countertops, dry erase boards, fabrics, glues, housewares and flame retardants.

FDA scientists explained that when melamine and cyanuric acid are absorbed into the bloodstream, they concentrate and interact in the urine-filled renal microtubules, then crystallize and form large numbers of round, yellow crystals, which in turn block and damage the renal cells that line the tubes, causing the kidneys to malfunction.

What is Melamine? -- Other names for melamine:


Chemical composition

In China, it was put into baby milk, cat and pet food (exported to USA as gluten filler) to increase profit margins. Melamine is toxic in doses that are on a par with table salt (src: Wikipedia). It caused great illness (and death in some cases) in children and pet companion animals (many thousands). Melamine gives the impression of higher levels of protein and it is alleged to have been added to fool government protein content tests.

Ingestion of melamine can lead to bladder and/or kidney stones and bladder cancer. Please see Melamine in Cat Food for more on this.

What is Melamine? to Cat Anatomy

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