Thursday, November 20, 2008

Our Domestic Melamine Problem

We're had several posts here about the melamine problem in China, and now from this editorial in the NYtimes about our domestic melamine problem, I can't imagine a BETTER argument for eating local and organic. I have been reading that melamine is a "byproduct" of fertilizer production, but I didn't realize it's IN fertilizer. And vegans take note of the bad news about wheat gluten, people trying to conceive look up old posts about why removing WHEAT and GLUTEN may help your fertility especially if you have thyroid problems.

Chemical plants throughout the United States produce millions of pounds of melamine a year...

Given the pervasiveness of melamine, it’s always possible that trace elements will end up in food. The F.D.A. thus sets the legal limit for melamine in food at 2.5 parts per million. ...

But these figures obscure more than they reveal. First, while adults eat about one-fortieth of their weight every day, toddlers consume closer to one-tenth. Although scientists haven’t measured the differential impact of melamine on infants versus adults, it’s likely that this intensified ratio would at least double (if not quadruple) the impact of legal levels of melamine on toddlers.

This doubled exposure might not land a child in the hospital, but it could certainly contribute to the long-term kidney and liver problems that we know are caused by chronic exposure to melamine.

On a more concrete note, melamine not only has widespread industrial applications, but is also used to buttress the foundation of American agriculture.

Fertilizer companies commonly add melamine to their products because it helps control the rate at which nitrogen seeps into soil, thereby allowing the farmer to get more nutrient bang for the fertilizer buck. But the government doesn’t regulate how much melamine is applied to the soil. This melamine accumulates as salt crystals in the ground, tainting the soil through which American food sucks up American nutrients.

read more here. (Username/PW: GreenFertility)

Or just eat organic!