Are Your Melamine Plates Poisoning You? - 1

Melamine is the base chemical which makes the robust melamine plastic tableware we so love because of its durability. Melamine (the base chemical) is also infamous as an illegal adulterant in pet food and children’s milk formulas. The milk contamination event resulted in the deaths of six children and kidney problems in many more.

The levels of melamine that caused these problems was enormously higher than that we are likely to consume from our normal diet. However, long term consumption of lower levels of melamine may be associated with an increased risk of kidney stones (although the falling incidence of kidney stones in women is evidence against this idea).

Where would we get melamine from in the first place? Some research has found that placing very hot fluids (distilled water and acetic acid) in melamine plastic tableware for 30 minutes can cause melamine to leach into those fluids.

However, the effect is only really significant at temperatures from 60 degrees centigrade and up, with the highest levels found when fluids are kept at 90 degrees centigrade for 30 minutes. The relevance of this to standard food serving is unclear.

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