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News 216 views last update:6 Aug 2012

Pet food, baby food contamination linked

Research has linked pet food contamination in North America in 2007 and the recent adulteration of milk protein and consequent intoxication of thousands of babies in China.

The research identified the principal contaminants as melamine and cyanuric acid. Neither of these compounds is very toxic when administered alone; however, in combination, they form a virtually insoluble complex.

This complex causes tubular blockade in the kidney, obstructing urine flow and causing renal failure. The research was done on rats, but because the toxicity depends only on the two compounds being present in the kidney at the same time, is relevant to other species, including humans, according to a press release of Oxford University.

The research also showed that the melamine-cyanuric acid complex is soluble in acid, suggesting that acidification of the urine in the distal tubules of the kidney may be a reasonable treatment option.

These findings are scheduled for publication in the November issue of Toxicological Sciences.

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