I ran across this article today thanks to Cindy P. I am not new to this information, but seeing it again set out so plainly reminded me that I know that it is a very serious issue which hasn’t gotten enough coverage. The issue is Melamine Poisoning and it could easily become one of the very big news stories of 2009. Melamine from China has already killed many thousands of our pets and many thousands of babies in Asia. Unscrupulous persons add it to the food supply, particularly milk products and protein powder. It can and will kill you. It is silent and deadly and I know of no cure. I predict it will become a major killer of humans across the globe unless the food supply is protected.
Melamine: Another toxic industrial byproduct planted in the food chain
Over the last few years, the list of food and drug recalls, ecoli and other food borne illness outbreaks and food/beverage-induced mass poisonings have become more frequent. Government-approved pharma drugs and chemicals of known toxicity are leeching into the environment and are intentionally added into products being sold to consumers. The most recent corporate food adulteration scandal involves melamine contamination in baby formula. While tragic for the babies themselves and the adults who loved them, the larger lesson of this poisoning is that corporate convenience and profit trump public health and safety when it comes to government regulatory oversight.
By The Idaho Observer
Near the end of September 2008, news was broadcast worldwide that 53,000 infants in China had become ill and several died as a result of melamine-contaminated milk.
This wasn’t the first time that Chinese melamine has contaminated products with deadly results. In March, 2007, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began receiving thousands of reports of American cats and dogs dying from kidney failure after eating contaminated pet food. Although only 14 cases were confirmed as “melamine poisoning from pet food,” there is no centralized reporting system so the numbers of dogs and cats that died of melamine poisoning was likely much higher.
The pattern being revealed here is the increasingly pervasive presence of melamine contamination in commonly-consumed food products both here in the U.S. and abroad.
What is melamine?
There are several ways to produce melamine, some of which have been patented by Rockefeller’s Standard Oil subsidiary American Cyanamid beginning in 1956. Melamine, which is 66 percent nitrogen by mass, is added to a variety of plastics, resins, coatings and even concrete products to reduce porosity and increase strength. Melamine is also a flame retardant.
the Dutch company DSM, the world’s largest melamine producer, published an “industry update” in April, 2007. The update noted that, between 2002 and 2007, while the global melamine price remained stable, a steep increase in the price of urea (feedstock for melamine) has reduced the profitability of melamine manufacturing.
While melamine is manufactured as an end product, it is also a byproduct of synthesis gas production. “Syngas” production in China has been increasing to meet with the nation’s growing energy needs by converting low-grade coal into liquid fuel through a process that involves the conversion of urea through “pyrolysis” (heat and pressure in the absence of oxygen). Melamine is a byproduct of urea pyrolysis.
Since early 2006, mainland China, with melamine production growing by about 10 percent a year, has been experiencing a “serious surplus” of melamine and has recently become the world’s leading melamine exporter.
The emerging picture is that melamine, as a byproduct of syngas production, like sodium fluoride as a byproduct of aluminum and phosphate fertilizer manufacture (and depleted uranium as a byproduct of nuclear energy production), is expensive to dispose of properly so it is being diluted in commonly-consumed products and sold to people.
Melamine in milk and milk products
Melamine, a white powder that is not approved as a food additive, has very little taste or odor and is illegally being added to milk and milk products. Tests also show that melamine contains zero protein but has a unique chemistry that falsely accentuates the protein values of milk and milk products.
The basic nutrient in milk is the protein “casseinate.” Melamine has nearly the same protein structure as casseinate but contains too many nitrogen ions and cannot be absorbed nor excreted by the kidneys and kidney failure eventually results. This can be especially dangerous if one’s diet is high in nitrates such as those found in processed meats like ham, lunchmeat and hot dogs.
Adding melamine to milk powder not only reduces the actual milk content but is much cheaper than milk so it lowers production costs. Melamine can be easily mixed with powdered milk and, since it doesn’t have a unique smell or taste, it cannot be detected by consumers.
Melamine in food
The nitrogen-rich molecule is sometimes illegally added to food products in order to increase its apparent protein content. It has also been employed as a non-protein nitrogen, appearing in soy meal, corn gluten meal and cottonseed meal used in cattle feed. Melamine is known to cause renal and urinary problems in humans and animals when it reacts with cyanuric acid inside the body.
In 2007, an estimated 50,000 cats and dogs in the U.S. died suddenly due to kidney failure. Investigators traced the cause to pet food that contained melamine-contaminated wheat gluten from China.
Beginning in 2008, hospitals in China reported an abnormal increase in infant cases of kidney stones. By August, 2008, China’s Sanlu Milk Powder tested positive for melamine content.
In September, 2008, New Zealand’s government asked China’s regulators to test milk products. By September 21, 2008, the vast majority of milk-based food products manufactured in China and stored in Taiwan warehouses tested positive for melamine content.
New Zealand, Australia and most E.U. nations responded by ordering a recall of melamine-contaminated products from China and issued public warnings.
In the U.S., however, because of the threat of credit market collapse, our shaky stock market, bank failures and Chinese ownership of $trillions in bonds and real U.S. assets, the Bush Administration’s FDA and Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Mike Leavitt failed to order recalls or issue a public warning (Curiously, they continue to promote avian flu vaccines which are also manufactured in China by Rockefeller’s Sanofi-Pasteur). Meanwhile, many common food products contain melamine that are sold in stores throughout America.
What happens when melamine is ingested?
Melamine ends up inside the kidneys eventually forming stones which block the tubes that excrete urine. Since the person cannot urinate the pain is intense. The kidneys then swell and eventually begin to bleed. Although surgery can remove the stones, ingestion of melamine will often cause irreversible kidney damage. This can lead to loss of kidney function resulting in death from uremia or, if caught in time, long kidney dialysis—the expensive blood filtering process that takes about four hours every three days—for the rest of one’s life or until damaged kidneys can be replaced.
Why is kidney damage more serious in babies? Kidneys are very small and most modern babies, unfortunately, drink a lot of infant formula. It is estimated that 13,000 infants in China are currently hospitalized but since the media is tightly controlled in China, the actual number may be much higher.
What foods should be avoided?
Foods that contain dairy products from China should be avoided. Most milk chocolate sold is contaminated with melamine. Brand names such as Kraft, Nestle, Dreyer’s, Nabisco, Vitasoy, Mars and countless others use ingredients from China that could be contaminated with melamine.We suggest that you avoid food products from China and products containing Chinese ingredients until further public notice.
If you own a snack bar, restaurant or coffee shop, stop selling dairy-containing products from China. If you have infants at home, change to mother’s milk or find other substitutes such as raw goat’s milk. It is vitally important that you share this information with family and friends so they will understand the risk of melamine-contaminated milk poisoning.
The whole world (the Bush administration notwithstanding) is now deeply concerned with food products made in China or manufactured from ingredients made in China. It is difficult to determine where products are made based upon labels or barcodes. It may be prudent to simply avoid mass-produced and nationally-distributed milk and milk products unless you are certain that they are not imported from China or made from ingredients imported from China.
But where does it end?
If we are to boycott food from China and Taiwan because we suspect it may contain melamine, should we not also boycott food from the U.S. known to contain dangerous FDA-approved additives and drugs, genetically-modified plant and animal products? Should we not boycott U.S. food that has been irradiated to extend shelf life?
We are quickly coming full circle in the food-production cycle. We began as hunter-gatherers who either acquired food or starved. With urbanization came the division of labor and farmers produced food in trade for goods and services produced and supplied by others. Mechanization, coupled with corporatization, replaced farmers and food began being processed and packaged more and more for maximum profit and minimal personal liability to the point we are at today: The food supply sustains corporate profit not human life.
Our two choices are emerging: Eat poisoned food from corporate (fiction) sources and die slowly, or eat wholesome food from local (Creation) sources and live.
~Dr. A. True Ott, Ingri Cassel and Don Harkins contributed to this article
This comes to me from Superior Bill. Though I am horrified I am not surprised. Considering the burgeoning human overpopulation, things like this are likely to become more rather than less common unfortunately. The slaughter and eating of cats is a very inauspicious activity to engage in.
By GILLIAN WONG,Associated Press Writer AP – Friday, December 19
BEIJING – A southern Chinese province must stop the “shameful” and “cruel slaughter” of cats for food, a group of more than 40 animal lovers in Beijing said Thursday as they unfurled banners in a tearful protest.
Thousands of cats across the country have been caught in the past week by traders and transported to Guangdong province to be killed for food, said the protesters gathered at the Guangdong government’s office in Beijing.
“We are very angry because the cats are being skinned and then cooked alive. We must make them correct this uncivilized behavior,” said Wang Hongyao, who represented the group in submitting a letter to the Guangdong office.
The protesters urged the provincial government to crack down on cat traders and restaurants that serve cat meat, although no law says it is illegal to eat cats. It has long been common for cats and dogs to be eaten in some parts of China and in some other Asian countries.
The demonstrators held up banners saying “Cooking cats alive! Shame on Guangdong!” and “Resolutely oppose cruel slaughter” as they met with a representative of the Guangdong office.
Calls to the Guangdong provincial office in Beijing rang unanswered, while the government news office in the province refused to comment.
The protest was apparently in response to Chinese media reports in recent days that carried pictures of furry felines peering out through bamboo crates and metal cages, apparently en route to Guangzhou, Guangdong’s capital. Other pictures show cats being skinned in restaurant kitchens.
About 5,000 cats were sent from Nanjing to Guangzhou, while cats from Shanghai, Hangzhou and other places were also being rounded up, the Chengdu Business Daily reported last week. The paper said people in Guangdong eat 10,000 cats a day.
No reason was given for the increased media coverage, or if there has been an increase in cat meat consumption.
Many of the protesters in Beijing were retirees who said they have been caring for strays cats. The protesters said they believed that some street cats in Beijing, “especially the fat ones,” have disappeared and were likely nabbed by cat meat dealers.
“These cats, they are like our children,” said Cui Qingzhen, a 56-year-old woman who said she has been feeding street cats for six years. “We can’t let these people do this to them.”
The demonstrators also noted that a virus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome, SARS, is suspected to have been spread to humans by civet cats, mongoose-like animals considered a delicacy in southern China.
SARS was first reported in Guangdong in November 2002 and killed 774 people worldwide before subsiding in July 2003. In 2004, Guangdong banned the raising, selling, killing and eating of civet cats.
“Haven’t they learned from SARS that some animals just shouldn’t be eaten by humans?” Cui said. “Ask the Guangdong people: What else must they eat?”
Associated Press researcher Xi Yue contributed to the report.
I have always been fascinated with the idea of living underground or living in a cave. I really think it might be the wave of the future. When I visited France, I went into some marvelous wine caves. Nearby some people live in caves and they are often called troglodytes.
In Tunisia there is a place called Matmata that I wanted to visit where the denizens escape the North African heat by burrowing into the ground and creating underground homes. There is even an underground hotel Hotel Sidi Driss, where a scene from Star Wars was filmed. Unfortunately I did not have enough time in Tunisia to get there.
The most fascinating of all underground complexes to me is in Cappadocia Turkey. There are at least forty underground villages some of which can be visited and toured.
Right here in the USA it is possible to purchase defunct underground missile silos to use as offices or dwellings. Peter Davenport who manages the National UFO Reporting Center (NUFORC) has done just that. He has purchased a decommissioned USAF ICBM missile base in Washington State to house the center. I met him and heard him speak at the Atlantic City UFO Conference last February (2008). He is doing a terrific job and I wish him well in this very important work and with this innovative underground site.
Finally here is a most informative article brought to my attention by Dara H. about 20 MILLION people who live in caves in China.
Energy efficient home, easy to maintain — and no mortgage
MIAOGOU VILLAGE, China — Like millions of other Chinese, Li Zhanjun lives in a dwelling that is fireproof, noise proof, warm in winter, cool in summer and the epitome of an eco-friendly design. Moreover, it’s cheap.
Li lives in a cave.
About 20 million Chinese still reside in caves and dirt-covered dwellings on the Loess Plateau that straddles the middle and upper reaches of the Yellow River in China’s northwest.
Some of the caves have been passed down for generations, with hard-packed earthen walls, electrical wiring, piped-in plumbing and other modern conveniences, including cable television.
Longtime cave dwellers are often passionate about their way of life, saying they are shielded from the elements in a practical and efficient fashion, dwelling along hillsides and leaving valuable arable land in valleys for growing crops.
Researchers say economic necessity isn’t the only reason so many Chinese continue to reside in caves.
“People from abroad think people who live in caves are very poor. But our research shows that is not always the case,” said Wang Jun, a researcher on caves at the Xian University of Architecture and Technology.
Many simply have grown accustomed to a lifestyle that dates back more than a millennium. Caves also have a revolutionary luster. Mao Zedong, the revolutionary founder of modern China, lived in caves that still honeycomb this region after the Long March, plotting the drive to take over the country that succeeded in 1949.
Caves are easily excavated from the silty soil here, requiring only picks and other digging implements. The earth is so hard-packed that caves don’t need additional support to prevent collapse. Most have a stone facade, with large lattice windows framing a door and allowing light to pour in during the day.
Generally, the caves are shaped like loaves of bread, 10-to-13 feet wide and anywhere from 20-to-25 feet deep, with arched ceilings. Several caves dug next to each other can have connecting doors, providing for a larger overall dwelling, with flues allowing for ventilation from indoor cooking fires.
The caves provide a cool respite from intense summer heat, and a snug retreat for inhabitants as winter temperatures drop.
Wang Aifang recalled how one day last winter, temperatures fell to minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit. When she stoked up an indoor cooking furnace, the cave quickly warmed up.
“Look how the warm air circulates from the stove, under the bed and out the flue,” she said, feeding a fire in an earthen hearth with branches from dried sesame plants.
Her dirt cave had walls so hard-packed they appeared to be made of concrete. They were covered with white lime, except at lower levels, which she had covered in newsprint.
“The houses in the city have to use heat. We don’t,” Wang said.
Wang, the architect, who’s not related, said researchers had done tests on the caves finding that even when outside temperatures fell to 3 degrees, indoor temperatures in the caves stood at about 54 degrees.
Just a few decades ago, as many as 40 million Chinese lived in caves. Back then, many caves had small doors and windows, making them dark and dank. The numbers of cave dwellers has dropped as living standards improved in China, even as cave designs have gotten more comfortable, with bigger doors and windows and better ventilation systems.
Wang is trying to convince authorities to promote cave living, designing greenhouse fronts that allow them to trap solar heat more efficiently in winter. He said caves are far more energy efficient than freestanding buildings.
“If you cook just a little food over a fire, it heats up the whole cave. A house isn’t so efficient,” he said.
One American who spent five months with Chairman Mao in the caves around Yanan, his revolutionary headquarters here in Shaanxi Province, recalled the caves as “a great way to live.”
“My cave was very easy to heat — just a little square stone charcoal brazier . . . with a few sticks of charcoal glowing would warm the place during the day. When you went to sleep, on your little cot, you’d bank the fire by raking the ashes over the embers and then puff them back to glowing in the morning,” said Sidney Rittenberg, who spent some three decades in China before returning to the U.S.
“Life in the cave was quite clean,” Rittenberg added in an e-mail. “After boring a new cave out of the hillside, they would leave it unoccupied for the first year to let it dry out, so that by the time someone moved in it was both clean and dry.”
Cave living holds less appeal to young Chinese.
“They think it’s rustic,” said Li, who along with his wife Wang raised two sons in their cave, which was dug out by his grandfather. “They (the caves) are so comfortable, but the young people think it’s primitive.”
In addition to caves, many Chinese in this region live in hillside housing with earthen berms for walls and earth on the rooftop. Many are built with local stones from a quarry, with an arch facade. Standing outside his earthen home, Sheng Xiaolong noted the stonework on the facade, comprising large slabs.
“Actually, we pay more for this than for a regular building,” Sheng said. “People are not allowed to use explosives anymore to get their own stone slabs. . . . Stones are heavy and require a lot of labor.”
Cave designs have changed over the years. As rural incomes rise, cave dwellers bring more furniture home. They’ve built walls that go straight up to about six feet, allowing for wardrobes to be placed flush against walls. Ventilation systems have improved, and Wang said some 80 percent have indoor plumbing.
They remain largely impervious to natural disaster.
“They are safe in earthquakes. Only landslides can damage them,” Wang said. “They can’t burn down.”
One of the biggest advantages remains economic, he added.
“You can live there forever. You don’t pay anybody,” Wang said.