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The parents of children made ill by melamine-tainted milk powder
The parents of children made ill by melamine-tainted milk powder in China are expected to file suits against the baby formula producers responsible, the China Daily newspaper said on Tuesday.

The first suit - against the Chinese dairy giant Sanlu - has already been referred to a court in central China's Henan province. The court has yet to rule on whether it will hear the 150,000-yuan ($21,900) suit.

"The court will mail the reply to us within a couple of days, and we should receive it soon," the newspaper quoted Ji Cheng, a lawyer with the Beijing-based Deheng Law Firm, as saying.

Sanlu was at the heart of the melamine-tainted powder milk scandal which broke out in China in early September. Tests revealed the presence of the industrial chemical melamine in its baby food.

Melamine can cause severe kidney damage if ingested. Further investigations revealed that another 22 companies were also guilty of selling melamine-tainted dairy products.

As a result, at least four babies died of kidney stones, while another 53,000 children and babies were made ill. A total of 13,000 children are currently being treated in hospital.

The lawyer said he was representing the parents of a one year-old boy from the Henan province who is believed to have developed kidney stones after drinking the Sanlu baby formula. The parents will present in court over 90 empty bags of Sanlu milk powder as evidence of the company's culpability.

Over 120 lawyers from 22 Chinese provinces are currently preparing similar suits to cover hospital fees, travel costs, time off work, and other expenses incurred by the parents of the sick children.

The courts could reject the suits however in the event of the introduction of a government compensation plan.


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