6,200 Chinese babies ill, 3 dead from tainted milk

BEIJING (AP) -- The Chinese government is sending out thousands of inspectors to monitor baby-milk producers amid a dramatic rise in the number of babies sickened by tainted formula.

At least three children have died and more than 1,300 others, mostly newborns, remain hospitalized. Dozens of them are suffering from acute kidney failure.

The country's health minister says he expects the numbers to rise as more parents take children to hospitals.

Government testing in China shows that 20 percent of the companies producing milk powder have dairy products with melamine.

The chemical additive was at the center of a pet food scandal in the U.S. last year. An estimated 1,500 dogs and cats died after a pet food ingredient manufactured in China that was laced with the chemical.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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