TOXICOLOGY

Cutest,  "The Cutest Kitty"
died 3/29/07
16 yrs old
Barbi Twins Comment on their Loss and Lawsuit


Class Action Law Firm:
Blim & Edelson LLC, Chicago
www.blimlaw.com



 

 

Contaminates listed in order of appearance in Recall Timeline
Aminopterin - At first it was believed poisoning was due to Aminopterin (a rat poison)

Compound derived from pteridine, a compound first identified in butterflies' wings1

Aminopterin is used to kill rodents in other countries but it is not licensed in the U.S.

It has been used in the U.S. (late 40's)  as a cancer drug, as it stops cancer cell grown and suppreses the imune system (inhitibts DNA replication and RNA and protein synthesis). A less toxic folic acid analog, methotrexate has largely superseded it.

Aminopterin's toxicity is believed to be similar to methotrexate's which, in high doses, leads to the deposit of 7-hydroxymethotrexate crystals in renal tubules, eventually causing acute kidney failure.

Pet Food Recall - Chemical Engineering News  - Mar 26, 2007
Pet food industry unites in crisis -
PRWeek (subscription), NY - May 17, 2007
Rat Poison Found In Tainted Pet Food, - CBSNEWS- Mar 23, 2007
Aminopterin - EnvironmentalChemistry.com 
Animopterin  - Vetmedicine.About.com 
Aminopterin
 - Dictionary.com 
Aminopterin
 - Wikipedia 
Chemical data sheet for Aminopterin -  - NOAA.gov


melamine - Later lab tests determined melamine was in wheat gluten.  Now suspected of causing the illnesses.   While Melamine was thought to be of no  health concern, except to cats, it is unknown what effect the other chemicals or the combination of chemicals could have on animals or people.  The public learns that China commonly used Melamine as an additive to wheat gluten to increase protein content levels.  As the recalls unfold it is soon learned that US companies use Melamine in feed.

Melamine is asmall, nitrogen-containing molecule, used as an industrial binding agent, flame retardant and, when polymerized, as a plastic to make cooking utensils and plates, floor and counter laminates,  ready-to-assemble furniture and other common household items. In Asia, the monomer has been used as a fertilizer, but it is not registered for that use in the U.S.


Ariana Lindquist for The New York Times

Pet food makers get melamine caution - Bangkok Post, Thailand - Jun 6, 2007
Two U.S. Companies Recall Melamine-Tainted Feed - ConsumerAffairs (May 31, 2007)
Cause Of Deaths, Illness In Pets Remains Elusive - Chemical Engineering News  - Apr 04, 2007
Human, pet food makers checked for melamine, - CBSNEWS- Mar 23, 2007
Melamine - Vetmedicine.About.com 
Melamine: The Chemical Found in Recalled Pet Food - GoodNewsForPets
Chemical Sampling Information Melamine - OSHA 
Chemical Database - Melamine
- EnvironmentalChemistry.com 


Cyanuric Acid - Another banned chemical, cyanuric acid was found in the urine of hogs bound for slaughter.  The hogs were fed pet food scraps.  The FDA states that there is potentially no harm to humans. 

Cyanuric acid is used in the US as a water treatment stabilizer for swimming pools and hot tubs and thought not to be highly toxic on its own.  Chinese animal feed producers often came to purchase cyanuric acid to blend into their feed because it was cheaper and helped increase protein content.
 
It is reported that Amilorine and amiloride also were found in the tissue and urine of animals that ate the contaminated food but not in the ingredient itself.  Cyanuric acid, amilorine, and amiloride are metabolites of melamine.

"On May 1, scientists at the University of Guelph in Canada made a startling discovery. In a laboratory they found that melamine and cyanuric acid reacted with each other to form crystals that could impair kidney function - crystals similar to those discovered in affected pets. Cyanuric acid, a chemical stabilizer in swimming pools, was then found by U.S. investigators to have been added by Chinese pet food producers because it was cheaper than melamine and also helped to increase protein count."

Beware of fortune cookies - The Daily News of Newburyport, MA - Jun 13, 2007
Cyanuric Acid Found in Tainted Ingredients - About.com - Chemistry May 17, 2007
Chemical Database - Cyanuric Acid - EnvironmentalChemistry.com 
HPLC Determination of Cyanuric Acid - AmericanChemicalSociety - ACS..org
Cyanuric Acid Found in Tainted Ingredients - About.com - Chemistry May 17, 2007
Another Chemical Emerges in Pet Food Case  - NY Times (May 9)
Toxicologists closer to final answer on tainted pet food -
FTWayne.com  (May 2)

MELAMINE AND Cyanuric Acid - The deaths was soon related to the discovery of cyanuric acid .  Combined with Melamine they react and form a white solid called a “super-molecular aggregate.”  An animal's stomach is too acidic but the passing through the urinary tract, stones are created and block the urinary tubes


The following shows wheat gluten contaminated with melamine (Figure 1)
 compared with normal wheat gluten (Figure 2).
University of Guelph Lab Services Results
 - LabServices  (May 1)
Interaction of compounds caused deaths, experts suggest - TheGlobeAndMail  (April 28)
FOOD CHAIN PILE-UP 
- EatingLiberally  (Blog April 27)