We are living in an era where plastics surround us. We talk about eating healthy; we learn how pesticides /insecticides sneakingly make our food toxic and try to avoid it by buying fresh organic stuff. Some of us put extra effort into growing our fruits/vegetables to keep toxins away from the kitchen. We buy cookware that is free of toxins. What if, I say, all your efforts go in vain if you use tableware made of melamine? Many people choose melamine for their tableware because it's affordable, long-lasting, and has attractive colors and designs. I've noticed that many kids are drawn to melamine plates with their favorite cartoon characters and superheroes printed on them. Companies use this attraction to sell these plates to children.
How is melamine tableware made?
Manufacturing melamine tableware involves blending melamine and formaldehyde to create a moldable resin. This resin can be shaped into various forms through compression molding and decorated with designs using techniques like screen printing, decals, or heat transfer. Why is it, not sustainable tableware? Both melamine and formaldehyde are hazardous chemicals. Melamine is linked to kidney problems and endocrine disruption, whereas formaldehyde is a recognized carcinogen.
1. Toxin release
It's crucial to note that when hot food or drinks are being served in melamine dishes, there is a high chance of contamination due to the release of melamine in the food. (2)This risk is amplified when the food is acidic, salty, or fatty. Additionally, storing food with salty sauces in melamine dishes can also lead to contamination. Imagine serving your loved ones hot soups/curries and drinks in melamine bowls and cups. (3)(4)How unknowingly we invite potential health hazards.
2. Some extra dose of toxin
Do you love melamine dinnerware for its beautiful patterns and designs? It's important to know that decorative designs, patterns, and colors are typically applied using screen printing, decals, and heat transfer methods, potentially leading to toxins' absorption over time. If your melamine dinnerware has become discolored, it could indicate chemical changes that release potentially harmful unknown compounds if ingested.
3. Not environment friendly
Melamine is widely believed to harm the environment. Melamine tableware is not recyclable as it can get melted but not molded again. So, if you are discarding it, it will eventually be in a landfill. Melamine products are not meant for you if you care about the environment. If you already own melamine tableware, don't throw it away. Instead, repurpose it for non-food uses. (11)
4. Melamine-induced diseases
Renal health issues: The primary health issue caused by melamine exposure in humans is the development of kidney stones. Melamine has the potential to combine with other compounds in the body to form crystals, which can accumulate in the kidneys and urinary tract, leading to the formation of kidney stones. Besides kidney stones, Several other potential kidney-related concerns could arise from prolonged and continuous exposure to low levels of melamine, like Urinary tract infection (blood in urine, little or no urine) and bladder cancer. (8) (9)
Endocrine disruptor: Studies have found that melamine can potentially disturb the endocrine systems, leading to unfavorable consequences. Melamine has been linked to possible impacts on thyroid and reproductive hormones, which may affect mood and fertility. (10)
We have noticed that some plastic melamine products are being marketed as BPA-free. While this may seem like a healthier option for consumers, it can be misleading. Replacing one toxin with another can negatively affect our health and well-being. Therefore, it is essential for consumers to be aware of the potential risks associated with these types of products and to make informed decisions when purchasing items made from plastic. The good news is that you have a variety of tableware to choose from, including stainless steel clay, bamboo, glassware, and many more. Explore more and select your favorite dinnerware. Happy eating!