Know Your Plastics: Melamine

Melamine is notorious because it was the cause of fatal poisoning and sickening of many American pets in 2007.  Chinese manufacturers added melamine to corn gluten, wheat gluten and rice protein to fake higher protein levels in their products for use in pet foods.  Again in 2008, melamine was the culprit in the death of Chinese infants who were fed milk-based baby formulas laced with melamine.

Melamine Ware

Melamine Ware on Display

Melamine, described in Wikipedia as a thermosetting plastic, is derived from the polymerization of formaldehyde and melamine resin and is widely used today in building supplies (such as Formica) and also in inexpensive, non-breakable tableware.

Tests have shown that under certain conditions, such as high heat or in contact with acidic foods, melamine is leached from dinnerware into food. And recently published research indicates that human consumption of melamine may result in kidney stones.

Melamine may also be found in our bodies due to the use of the pesticide cyromazine on food and forage crops.

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