Recent outbreaks of nephrolithiasis and acute kidney injury among children in China have been linked to ingestion of milk-based infant formula contaminated with melamine. These cases provide evidence in humans for the nephrotoxicity of melamine, which previously had been described only in animals. The consequences of this outbreak are already severe and will likely continue to worsen. Herein we summarize the global impact of the melamine milk contamination, the reemergence of melamine-tainted animal feed, and potential mechanisms of melamine nephrotoxicity. Large-scale epidemiologic studies are necessary to further characterize this disease and to assess its potential long-term sequelae. This epidemic of environmental kidney disease highlights the morbidity associated with adulterated food products available in today's global marketplace and reminds us of the unique vulnerability of the kidney to environmental insults. Melamine is the latest in a growing list of diverse potentially toxic compounds about which nephrologists and other health-care providers responsible for the diagnosis and management of kidney disease must now be aware.
View details for DOI 10.1038/ki.2009.16
View details for PubMedID 19212415