As news of the infant formula recall in China spreads, we want to keep our supporters up to date on what we do and do not know at this time. We are checking on all of the children in our programs to make sure they are doing well. Here are answers to some of the questions we have been asked.
1) Which brands of formula are affected in China?
So far, 22 Chinese brands have been recalled. These include formulas made under the following company names: Sanlu, Mengniu, Yalishi, Shien, Xiongmao, Guangming, Gucheng, Shengyuan, and Yili. So far, 20% of the infant formula brands in China have tested positive for melamine. 80% have tested safe.
2) What are the long term effects of melamine consumption in humans?
There are no direct human studies on the long term effects of melamine in humans. In animal tests, it can cause the formation of bladder and kidney stones, which is what the children who are ill in China have been experiencing. In some cases, the stones can block the small tubes in the urinary tract system, which can lead to severe kidney problems. Testing in animals has suggested a possible link to reproduction issues and cancer, but there is no conclusive data on this issue.
3) Could my adopted child from China have been exposed?
As of today, the earliest reports of children experiencing issues with baby formula are from December of 2007. Some of the symptoms to be concerned about in a child with a possible exposure to melamine include irritability, blood in a child’s urine, little or no urine, kidney infection, and high blood pressure. If your child from China is experiencing any of these symptoms, consult your doctor.
4) What type of formula does LWB use in their programs?
For the orphanages where we regularly supply infant formula, we use either Nestle or Wyeth products, both which have tested negative for melamine to date.
5) Are all children in LWB programs on Nestle or Wyeth?
No, only the children enrolled in our specific nutrition programs receive our supplemental formula. Some children in our other programs (such as education and medical) might receive the formula provided by the orphanage, which LWB does not monitor. In several of our foster care programs, the foster care parents purchase the formula brand of their choice on their own. Our directors and managers in China are checking on every child in our programs who could have been exposed to tainted formula. The welfare of the children in our programs is our top priority. We are doing all we can do to make sure the kids are okay.
In 2008, LWB provided Chinese formula to seven orphanages as a one-time gift from adoptive parent groups. We purchased the brand of formula the orphanage requested and bought the highest quality type of that formula each time. We are checking with those orphanages as well to make sure the children in their care are symptom free.
6) Has LWB been alerted that any orphaned children are experiencing issues?
Yes. We learned today that 4 children from Dingyuan, Anhui and 19 children from Shangrao, Jiangxi have tested positive for kidney stones.