Melamine leaches from heated dinnerware, new research finds

Melamine-leaches-from-heated-dinnerwareA new study finds that eating from heated plates or bowls with plastic melamine can have adverse health effects.

According to a new study from researchers in Taiwan and published in the recent edition of the journal, JAMA Internal Medicine, people who ate from heated bowls that contained melamine had high levels of it in urine samples taken after they had eaten.

Melamine, according to a report on the study from The New York Times, is approved in the U.S. to be used in plastic tableware, including forks, spoons, plates, bowls, and the like. The Food and Drug Administration has banned its use or inclusion in any food products and it was melamine that was the source of a nationwide scare surrounding tainted baby formula in 2008, when more than 50,000 infants were hospitalized and 6 died after being fed formula that was tainted with melamine and imported from China.

In this new study, a group of 12 “healthy” individuals were selected. In two groups, one eating from a ceramic bowl and the others eating from a melamine bowl, they were fed 500-mL of “hot noodle soup” from those vessels. Prior to eating the soup and then at regulated intervals after they had eaten, each participant submitted urine samples that were tested for levels of melamine. After three weeks, the groups switched what bowls they ate from and repeated the process of eating the soup and submitting samples for testing.

The study found that people who ate from the melamine bowls had levels of it at 8.35-mcg while the level of melamine in those who had eaten from ceramic bowls was just 1.31-mcg.

The report indicates that there isn’t enough evidence to determine whether the levels of melamine found at the highest levels are dangerous or a cause for concern. The research also did not specify if one brand of melamine bowl leached more of the substance over another. The study did urge for more research on the properties of melamine, specifically its application in plastic dinnerware and when it’s heated.

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