Why do you tempt me so?

December 08, 2010

Melamine dishware have come a long way … beautiful designs, bold colors, AND virtually unbreakable!!  Whether its in stores or online, they always seem to be there tempting me ... so why do I resist? 

These dishes, often referred to as melamine are actually made of melamine resin.  Melamine is an organic compound that alone has very low toxicity, but to make those cute hard plastic dishes and cups, melamine is combined with formaldehyde under heat and pressure to create melamine resin.  That's right ... formaldehyde!!!

As with most things, more research is required before you can draw a definitive conclusion but initial studies show that leaching does occur, especially when melamine resin is in contact with warm or acidic foods and beverages. 

Personally, the thought of formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, possibly migrating into the foods I prepare for my children is not something I’m comfortable with ... so, I am choosing to err on the side of caution and avoid the use of melamine dishes and cups until more scientific evidence says otherwise.

If you already have some in your household, there is no need to chuck them all out the window.  Just exercise some caution when using them.  For instance, don’t use them in microwaves, don’t serve extremely hot or acidic food or beverage in them, and when possible, hand wash your melamine dishes/cups using mild soap and warm water.  However, if you choose not to use them ... melamine can't be recycled, so I would repurpose them for use in play kitchens. 

For more information on melamine and melamine resin check out these great articles from Safe Mama, Healthy Child Healthy World, and The Soft Landing.

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