Generic picture of Chinese babies

Chinese children as young as these are growing breasts.

Babies in China have grown breasts after they were given milk laced with hormones.

The terrifying scenes of female infants with plump breasts have caused uproar among parents in central China, who fear that the milk powder they used has led to the premature growth.
The official China Daily newspaper reports that medical tests indicated that the level of hormones in three ‘test case’ girls, ranging in age from four months to 15 months, exceeded those found in the average adult woman.
All the babies who showed symptoms of the phenomenon were fed the same baby formula.
But the company which prepared the milk powder denied it had added hormones and it is now thought the blame lies with dairy farmers and the way they are raising their cows.
China has no regulations that control the use of hormones in cattle, a widespread practice used by farmers to fatten the animals and increase milk production.
Dairy products in many countries, including Britain and other EU nations, do not contain hormones but it is a different story in China.
‘Since a regulation forbidding the use of hormones to cultivate livestock has yet to be drawn up in China, it would be lying to say nobody uses it,’ said Mr Wang Dingmian, the former chairman of the dairy association in the southern province of Guangdong.
EU scientists have found that when hormones, which are generally introduced into animals by an ear implant under the skin, are given to cattle the level of their hormones increases by as much as 20 times.
These hormones find their way into the meat and milk, resulting in EU scientists concluding that ‘no acceptable daily intake could be established for any of these hormones.’
They said that people who consumed food products containing the increased hormones were at great risk of severe hormonal imbalance.
Chinese doctors now believe that as farmers work harder at increasing their cattle’s milk production, the use of hormones is increasing – with devastating effects on babies that are fed a formula from the milk.
‘The amount of hormones in the babies definitely means there’s a problem,’ said Mr Yang Qin, chief physician in the child care department at the Hubei Maternity and Children’s Hospital.
He urged parents to stop using the formula and insisted that the milk powder be subjected to chemical analysis.
But his suggestion has come up against red tape.
Local food safety authorities have refused one mother’s request to investigate the formula, made by the Synutra company, claiming they do not conduct tests when requested by consumers.
According to the Global Times newspaper the suspect baby formula is still being sold in the Hubei provincial capital, Wuhan, at discounted prices and is also on store shelves in Beijing.
Synutra insisted that its products were safe, claiming that ‘no man-made hormones or any illegal substances were added during the production of the milk powder’.
Two years ago Chinese dairy products were recalled worldwide after it was revealed that melamine, used to make plastics, was widely and illegally added to the products to give the appearance of higher protein.
At least six infants died and 300,000 others fell sick as a result of the malamine additions, it was claimed.
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