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Chinese Health Authorities Release Official Milk Scandal Numbers

The Chinese Health Ministry confirmed that more than six infants died and about 294,000 were taken ill after consumption of milk contaminated with melamine. Four months after the scandal, 861 infants are still hospitalized with kidney problems, out of which 154 are reported to be in a serious but stable condition.

The number of children who have taken ill was about five times higher than originally thought. Out of the children who took ill, 51,900 required hospital treatment.

The Chinese dairy exports took a beating after the scandal and China has reportedly exported just over 1,000 tons of dairy products in October, down 92 percent from a year earlier.

The Health Ministry has said that it would provide free medical treatment for children affected by the tainted milk. However, there has been no official statement in this regard. Thousands of parents are reportedly clamoring for compensation for their sick or dead children.

Melamine is an industrial chemical used in the production of fire retardants, fertilizers, and plastics. Because of its high nitrogen levels, it was used to mimic high protein levels in food. In sufficient quantities, melamine can cause kidney problems, including kidney stones and kidney failure.

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