Everyone who has kids probably has a plate or two made of melamine. Melamine is an organic, flame retardant industrial compound created by combining melamine resin with strengthening materials. It is virtually unbreakable, inexpensive, lightweight and comes in many different colors and designs. But it is not recyclable.
On 2007 and 2008 melamine became world news when pets and infants got sick and some even died due to high amounts of melamine in their food and in milk formula. They died due to renal failure after having consumed fatal doses of melamine. By using melamine plates we and our kids don´t get to these doses but concern has grown whether using melamine dinnerware could pose a risk to our food. According to the FDA, melamine-formaldehyde resin is used in the manufacturing of melamine. Some tests have shown that a small residue of this compound could remain in the products and under certain conditions could migrate slowly to food that come into contact with it. These conditions are:
- using melamine for hot food
- heating up food or drinks in melamine
- acidic foods
According to the FDA melamine tableware does not pose a health risk but it should be should with care when using it.
A 2013 study found that melamine can leach from dishes into food, but nobody knows what will be the consequences of long-term exposure.
So, why risk your kids´ health when there are so many alternatives that are safe and ecofriendly? I have switched my kids´ melamine plates and dishes for bamboo ones and they are just as colorful and lightweight. They might be a bit more expensive than the melamine ones, but I think that is well worth the money. Of course, you can also choose stainless steel tableware (or glass and ceramic, but I am not sure how long those would last with kids).
- Engel. "Celebrate life".
- Pure Kids. Fun and functionality.
- Yunaa. I couldn´t find a website of the brand itself, but in the Netherlands their products are for sale at various webshops.
- Zuperzozial. Eco-consciousness and functionality meet contemporary design.
- Bobo & Boo. For those who like colorful, simple dinnerware.