The Dangers of Melamine: Beautiful Dishes, or Toxic Plastic?

You work hard in making sure that your food is safe and healthy. Then as you are serving, you take from your cabinet your beautiful set of melamine plates that resemble a fine ceramic. Have you considered how safe they are? Keep reading to dig deeper.

What is Melamine?

Melamine is an inexpensive synthetic compound that when combined with formaldehyde becomes melamine resin. This melamine formaldehyde resin is used in making melamine dishware, hard plastic tableware.

Melamine has been a known material for a long time! In 1834, a German scientist named Justus von Liebig accidentally synthesized melamine in a lab; however, it wasn’t until the late-1940s that this inexpensive material was used in making melamine items like melamine dinnerware. Even more recently, concerns have arisen about its safety as serve-ware.

Ceramic, Glass, Plastic, and Melamine Dinnerware
It can be difficult to distinguish between conventional ceramic and melamine dinnerware at first glance

Is Melamine Tableware Safe, and Can It be Ingested from Food?

Studies show that melamine, along with cyanuric acid (an intermediate produced during its manufacturing), is found to contaminate food — especially when heated. It also found that highly acidic foods- such as orange juice or tomato-based products- tend to have higher levels of melamine migration from melamine plates or melamine bowls.

Presently, there is a need for more studies to compose a complete & thorough safety and risk assessment of melamine effects on human health due to chronic melamine exposure. However, there are plenty of early studies and incidents that indicate melamine products are toxic. For example, studies have found that in high concentrations, melamine contamination can put people at risk for kidney stones, kidney failure, and even death. Several studies have shown that children can form kidney stones, even with melamine exposure levels below the World Health Organization (WHO) standard.

Here’s a very real and tragic example of melamine toxicity causing dangerous effects: In 2008, over 300,000 babies became ill, and six infants died from melamine-tainted baby formula in China!

Like other toxic chemicals, melamine leaching increases considerably when heated, so the FDA has cautioned against using melamine dishes for serving hot foods or reheating food, and has suggested finding more microwave safe alternatives instead.

Further studies have shown that consumption of these materials can lead to a broad spectrum of health issues in animals, too. In 2007, melamine poisoning from commercial pet food caused many dogs and cats to die of kidney failure!

Melamine dinnerware negatively affects the environment, too. The Environment and Climate Change Department of the Government of Canada reports that the ware made from melamine is non-biodegradable. Another study associates environmental melamine exposure with deteriorating kidney function in early-stage chronic kidney disease patients!

Therefore, it is safe to conclude that melamine is unsafe for not just humans, but for pets and the environment, too. The FDA currently thinks that a daily melamine intake of 0.063 milligrams per kilogram of body weight is acceptable and safe. However, do you really want something so toxic in your body in any amount?

Why All-Natural Clay is the Opposite of Melamine Dishes (Non-Reactive & Safer)

MEC’s serve-ware, made from all-natural clay, is a healthy and safe alternative to melamine tableware. Miriam’s Earthen Cookware (MEC) is an all-American company that makes all their products (cookware, bakeware and dinnerware) from lab-tested primary clay, which is the purest form of natural clay. Nothing is added or removed from this 100% non-toxic material at any stage of production.

In contrast to the toxicity found in melamine ware, MEC products contain no ingredients that are detrimental to the individual or the environment when produced & used. With no artificial colors or coatings in MEC, there is no risk of leaching while serving food, even if it is a hot noodle soup or acidic food like cold orange juice.

Unlike melamine plastic that lasts indefinitely after disposal, MEC’s natural clay is fully compostable and goes back to the same earth where it comes from, enriching it with micronutrients.

Looking for a melamine-free beautiful dishware for serving healthy and safe food to your family? Head over to MEC’s online store and order a set of 100% non-toxic and safe cups and bowls today!

MEC Lead-Free Bowls
MEC’s Non-Toxic Dinnerware

People Also Ask

Is melamine better than plastic?

Melamine dishes are comparatively harder and more durable than standard plastic products. However, when it comes to health safety, studies have shown evidence of health risks due to melamine ingestion in humans and animals. Therefore, it is best to avoid any ware that contains harmful chemicals including melamine that can leach and contaminate food.

Published by

Sachin Sharma

I hail from a small but popular city of India known as Kurukshetra, mentioned numberless times in Indian/Hindu mythology because of some amazing historical events that supposedly took place there. I have done B.Tech in Information Technology but I decided not to be a Software Engineer as my qualification would have me be because it was all such a cliché. I love to live like a free spirit and do whatever I feel like doing at any moment. I have tried to work in multiple fields but none of them was interesting enough to keep me tied-up for too long. I am a typical Freelancer. I know I am destined to achieve greatness but when and how, I don't know yet.

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