Monday, April 30, 2007

EAT ZINC OXIDE? As good as melamine, maybe better

Normally it's put in paint or used as sun block, but hey, anything goes these days!

Why does Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co. of China, the firm the FDA is investigating in the melamine contamination of pet food incident, advertise the inert compound, zinc oxide, as feedstuff?

Who knows?

Certainly not your friendly neighborhood GlobalSecurity.Org Senior Fellow. Nope, if I were in the business of selling wheat protein, carrots, biologicals for consuming, zinc oxide would not be something that would occur to me.

As a biochemist, DD knows zinc ion is a critical component in metalloenzymes.

Metalloenzymes are common in nature and critical proteins in animal and human metabolism. Indeed, DD characterized a zinc-containing metalloenzyme found in wheat germ in his days in the wet biochemistry lab.

But one does not consume zinc oxide powder to furnish the very small amounts of zinc needed in a diet. That would be bad. One gets zinc as a matter of course in meats and, obviously by example above, in plant proteins, like those contained in wheat germ.

In fact, the addition of zinc oxide powder to animal diets appears to make little if any sense at all, even from a biochemical and nutritional standpoint.

Here's the nice page where Xuzhou advertises their "Zinc Oxide of Feedstuff," right next to the pretty pictures of "fresh carrots," "ginger" and "esb protein powder."

Look, not much lead, cadmium or arsenic in that zinc powder. It's mostly zinc. That's good to know.

"We can supply Zinc Oxide of Feedstuff," reads one statement from Xuzhou, retrieved from a Google cache of an expired page. "Our company is a multiplex technological private enterprise with research, production, distribution, which exports biologic feed, feed additive, wheat gluten meal wheat vital protein fresh preserved vegetables and so on. White or yellow powder, the density is 5.606, melting point 1975 . It is a kind of amphoteric oxide which is water-fast, ethanol-fast and dissolves in acid."

Here's The International Chemical Safety Card for zinc oxide.

"Do not eat," it says of zinc oxide. "Rinse mouth, refer for medical attention."

Will the FDA be looking to see if zinc oxide is in feeds? DD doesn't know. Maybe they've already done it. Or perhaps someone should ask.

Google cache of classified ad for Zinc Oxide of Feedstuff.


From this page at Cornell University, on causes of serious illnesses in cats.

"Signs: Zinc poisoning from elemental zinc results in hemolysis, regenerative anemia, or renal failure," it reads.

Cats falling ill from consuming contaminated pet food exhibit renal failure.

Simply coincidence? Quite possibly. Or possibly germane to present events, something to be looked into and ruled out, as one would do with anything else until an answer was arrived at.

"Zinc oxide poisoning can occur from the ingestion of houshold products containing zinc oxide such as diaper rash products, rubber products, cosmetics, batteries, soaps, and printing inks. Acute zinc oxide toxicity results in severe vomiting, CNS depression, and lethargy."


Blogger Cynthia said...

Zinc can turn up in some other surprising places. Denture creams such as Poligrip and Fixodent have been linked to neurological and other problems due to the zinc content in the products. This site has some good information and recourse options:

5:09 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home