At the height of the corn harvest in the long muggy days of August, 10-month-old Zhang Peng began refusing to drink his milk, crying fitfully at night as he struggled to sleep. Soon his twin sister Zhang Xue fell ill, too.
Several times, their parents brought the sick babies, who had trouble urinating, to the nearest hospital 20 miles from their farming village. Doctors could not diagnose the problem but gave the children herbal powder and injections.
Then last month, Chinese media revealed that infant formula contaminated with melamine, an industrial chemical used to make fertilizer and plastics, was sickening babies nationwide.